Maurice (Gough) Gee

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Digby Durrant

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Maurice Gee's skill is confirmed in Meg, whose story of a family with more than its fair share of misfits, lechers and drunks would be the stuff of soap operas in the hands of a lesser writer. Gee, however, creates a sense of time and place that is beautiful and moving.

Meg, who tells the story is, in the eyes of her family, a prig. Sentimental, censorious, goody-goody; she's their conscience, a born survivor, hard to forgive. (pp. 98-9)

Gee manages to make her oddly likeable, despite everything, and particularly despite his refusal to falsify or suggest a charm that doesn't exist. Even Meg, however, probably wouldn't have survived without the tranquility and beauty of the New Zealand landscape to retreat into; it is this backdrop to her life that gives the book its particular favour and strength.

Digby Durrant, "Colonial Capers," in London Magazine (© London Magazine 1982), Vol. 21, No. 11, February, 1982, pp. 97-100.∗

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