Kirsty Gunn meditates upon her childhood in New Zealand, revisiting in writing the landscapes she once explored through sight, sound and touch. Struggling with the stifling norms of colonial society, the young girl becomes fascinated by ‘the bush’ – that fringe of sodden, savage vegetation bordering the town’s tidy gardens and parks. Both threatening and irresistible, the bush becomes a powerful metaphor for the wild, with all its contradictions: marginalised but intrinsic, feared but desired. Interweaving essay, memoir and narrative, Gunn explores the influence of this disquieting presence on her early life and how it was able to provide her sustenance during the painful years of growing up.
Merran Gunn has created a mixed-media assemblage, reproduced in this cahier, that attempts to extend her sister’s exploration of the bush.
The Book Binder's Daughter January 2017