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A Strange, Beautiful Excitement, by Redmer Yska

Being back in New Zealand always brings me face to face with Katherine Mansfield.  I'm haunted by her, both as a writer and as a person and anything new that is published about her I read avidly.  I've known about Redmer Yska's research for this book from the beginning and I've waited with great excitement for its publication.

The book itself is a thing of beauty, with the inside cover lined with James M. Nairn’s painting of Wellington harbour in full colour c.1894.

Redmer Yska’s narrative is an evocative account of Katherine Mansfield’s childhood and the history of her family in New Zealand. The characters are drawn vividly from their letters and journals, from family anecdotes and a meticulous trawl through New Zealand’s archival records.

Shameful family secrets, such as the two bankruptcies of Katherine’s grandfather are revealed, and possible motives for her mother’s marriage to a man she often tolerated rather than passionately loved.   By marrying Harold Beaucha…

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