Author(s): Susan Hancock
Is she trying to seduce him? He doesn't know. Though not exactly distant she seems far away. The fire they have lit is young looking, crowned with green flames; it sends its light onto the red tiles around the fireplace, each with its upright white lily, like a martyr's emblem.
The Peastick Girl tells the story of Teresa Matheson, her sisters Mollie and Cass and the mysterious death of their mother. Teresa has returned to Wellington after five years in Melbourne where she has written a quest novel for younger readers, had two affairs, and met the demon Arkeum. Haunted by childhood memories she retreats into isolation in a house near her family home. What is and what might have been converge. Struggling to maintain her equilibrium she is rescued by the return from Australia of Nikolai, her Russian lover. In an isolated, seemingly fairytale location she stumbles across the truth of her past and finds an ambiguous peace. A sharply focused and often humorous account of New Zealand life, a world of men, Rugby, feminists who feel they've lost their way, Russian migrants and powerful but disaffected Maori women. The Peastick Girl is a complex tragi-comedy of manners.
A lyrical, understated intensity of emotion that is almost unbearable to read.
Fia Clendinnen, Australian Book Review
Hancock writes like an angel
Anne French, The New Zealand Listener