My rating: 3 of 5 stars
This book offers a fascinating insight into the mind of a thinking man. Gee writes as George Plumb, an old man recalling his life, from ministry in the Presbyterian church to time in jail for sedition; from small towns in New Zealand to Berkeley, California; from the birth of his 12 children to the death of the love of his life, and wife, Edie.
I confess it wasn’t an easy read for me – I was never quite sure which child or friend was being referred to, and I found it difficult to place the story in its time. I imagine it’s just because these are years I’m not used to reading about, times I’m not familiar with, yet the places are places I know. Or it could be the writing. I think I would definitely get more from this book on a second reading.
I’ve just begun reading the sequel, Meg and already I find it easier to read. The voice of George Plumb is not one I could relate to, but within the first few pages, I feel a connection to the character of Meg. As a novel, I feel that Plumb is an important piece of New Zealand literature, with its epic timespan and reference to parts of our country’s history. Gee is a talented writer, but I felt alienated from Plumb. When I have finished the trilogy, I’d like to go back and re-read Plumb, and I’ll let you know what I think when I do.