A house with a fanciful turret is built by a river. Unfolding within its rooms are lives of event and emotional upheaval. A lot happens. And the tumultuous events of the twentieth century also leave their mark, from war to economic collapse, the deaths of presidents and princesses to new waves of music, art, architecture and political ideas.
Meanwhile, a few metres away in the river, another creature follows a different, slower rhythm.
And beneath them all, tha planet moves to its own immense geological time.
With insight, wide-ranging knowledge and humour, this novel explores the same territory as its non-fiction twin, The Villa at the Edge of the Empire. Writing in a city devastated by major earthquakes, Fiona Farrell rebuilds a brilliant, compelling and imaginative structure from bits and pieces salvaged from one hundred years of history.
A lot has happened. This is how it might have felt.
About the author
Fiona Farrell is one of New Zealand’s leading writers. Born in Oamaru and educated at the universities of Otago and Toronto, she has published volumes of poetry, collections of short stories, non-fiction works, and many novels.
In 2007 she received the Prime Minister’s Award for Fiction, and in 2012 was appointed an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit for services to literature.
The Broken Book, a book of essays relating to the Christchurch earthquakes, was shortlisted for the non-fiction award in the 2012 Book Awards and critically greeted as the ‘first major artwork’ to emerge from the event. The Villa at the Edge of the Empire was also shortlisted for this award in 2016.
Her work, which The New Zealand Herald has praised for it’s ‘richness – of both theme and languages’, has been published around the world, including in the US, France and the UK.
Part social commentary, part local history, Decline and Fall draws you in with intriguing characters (not-withstanding the house itself), and true-to-life detail pre and post earthquake devastation in Canterbury, New Zealand. A pleasure to read.