Philip is a New Zealander, born and raised. The trouble is that no one else in the country will believe him. Although he has travelled widely, he is always compelled to return to the place where he feels least at home. His brother Dan, on the other hand, has no intention of going anywhere. Why leave when everything you hate is here? Meanwhile, Dan's ex-girlfriend Kumiko is drifting like a human yo-yo between Wellington and Christchurch, enrolling in every course she can find (from Physics to Art History to Astral Projection) in an effort to hold onto her student visa. Her father has come to the country, hoping to find her, but like every other character in this collection, he has a problem and a story of his own ...The characters in this funny and astute first book of short stories span genders, generations and identities, yet are all united by a sense of rootlessness. Whether at home or abroad, they are often lost, wandering in and out of each other's lives, never quite coming together. Moving convincingly between differing perspectives, these stories are deftly handled, offering flashes of sharp insight and unexpected humour.
This is a unique and fresh voice from an extremely talented new writer, who playfully questions what 'real life' is, and, more importantly, where it can be found.
Winner of New Zealand Society of Authors Best First Book Awards: Hubert Church Award for Fiction 2005.
Award-winning short story writer and novelist Julian Novitz was born in Christchurch, New Zealand, and currently lives in Melbourne. His first book, a collection of short stories, won the New Zealand Society of Authors Hubert Church Best First Book of Fiction Award (2005) and he since published several novels. Early in Novitz's career, Michael Larson identified his 'sure sense of perspective' and went on to say that it 'stakes him out as a writer worthy of serious consideration'. Critics have noted the 'passion of the ideas behind his writing' and the eloquence of his stories, with Holocaust Toursdescribed as 'darkly witty' in the way it explored 'questions of identity and history' (Salient). In North and South, Paul Little wrote: 'The way in which Novitz raises and defeats expectations ... is masterful. At a time when contemporary fiction is bedevilled by a cautious gentility, Novitz, by taking a few chances and great care, produces something that, with its gloomy, bleak tone, stands out from most of the pack. ' In reviewing Little Sister, The New Zealand Listener noted that 'Occasional nods to TS Eliot ... add their own resonances to the deliciously rich atmosphere of unease.' The reviewer continued: 'Although it may take time and care in reading to get the full impact of the final pieces falling into place, it isn't hard to accustom oneself to taking things slowly when the tension is so expertly and satisfyingly drawn out. That's the mark of a fine psychological thriller, a standard Little Sister easily meets and surpasses.' In Christchurch's Weekend Press, Sean Monaghan hailed Little Sister as 'a bold and precise book by a novelist on the ascent and it's sure to garner him more accolades. With taut control and a subtle and precise ear, Novitz knows when to reveal detail and when to be restrained. He reels the reader in with controlled craft. Then he turns everything over, making the novel something that will resonate long after the final page.' Novitz has completed a PhD in creative writing and literary studies at the University of Melbourne, and has taught courses in creative writing, literature and communications at the University of Melbourne, Deakin University, and the Swinburne University of Technology. He won the Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Award for Short Fiction in 2008, and was a recipient of the Buddle Findlay Frank Sargeson Residential Writing Fellowship in 2009.