All The Way To Summer: Stories of Love and Longing by Fiona Kidman
Dame Fiona Kidman is, it is fair to say, a national treasure. For the past 45 years her works have charmed, scandalised (her first novel, A Breed of Women, in particular) and resonated with readers across the globe.
Her vivid depictions of the heartbreaks and joys of desire, illicit liaisons and unconventional love made her a feminist icon in the 1980s and she has continued to capture readers with stories about our place, our land and our voices.
As she writes in her preface, it seemed "like a good moment to gather up stories that reflect this preoccupation in my writing".
To celebrate her 80th birthday, All The Way To Summer brings together thirteen of her best short stories, as well as several that are new. The volume allowed Kidman to rework some of her older stories, to "refresh them, sharpen them up a bit". All are moving and powerfully written with love, about love.
The book is cleverly separated into four sections - meant to mimic the stages of love; circling, longing, awry, and 'as it was'.
The final section in the book traces her own history, a memoir of sorts of the significant people from childhood and beyond.
Every story is quintessential Kidman - deep themes of love that changes a character, subtle yet packing a mighty punch. She writes poetically yet vividly, unique but universal.
The final story in the book, Stippled, is one that Kidman says reflects her own "histories of love" and that readers might recognise herself in the character Jill. It is a simple, delicate love story, of both people and place.
All The Way To Summer is an insightful collection that showcases the immense talent and passion of one of our dearest literary treasures.
Reviewer: Rebekah Lyell
Penguin Random House New Zealand, RRP $40.