Like Lord Leverhulme, the creator of the model town Port Sunlight, whose story Knox evokes, Hallowhulme is a philanthropist. Advertisement Knox won international applause in with The Vintner's Luck. The mystery is beautifully plotted I defy the reader to solve it before all the clues are laid out and the character of Billie exerts a definite charm and attraction. Knox's inventiveness runs riot here.
But really the title is, I think, referring to Lord Hallowhulme's stately pile, Kiss Castle, which Billie almost conquers; certainly her experiences there shape the rest of her life. Much good writing has to come from Auckland or Wellington to Australia by way of publication in London; and New Zealand writers are not so well-known here as they deserve to be. A remote island off the west coast of Scotland, hauntingly evoked in moods of mist and fog, is the setting for a complex family drama. Meanwhile, Murdo pursues Billie as both suspect and object of desire.
His emerging talent is convincingly shown, as is the family life he describes. But just as the Gustav Edda is docking in port, an explosion shatters the hull, leaving Edith dead and Henry injured. Billie's several kisses -- that first one from Henry, another surreptitious effort by Lord Hallowhulme, her initial kissorama with Murdo, the kiss she doesn't share with a vapid clergyman who seeks her hand -- are all, in one way or another, important plot points and plot drivers.
Like Lord Leverhulme, the creator of the model town Port Sunlight, whose story Knox evokes, Hallowhulme is a philanthropist. Echoes of The Tempest, drownings, play-acting, revelations of parentage: Powell's New Zealander Knox The Vintner's Luck; Black Oxen cleverly explores the many meanings of the word "kiss" in this haunting romantic mystery set in The legitimate passengers belonging to the cabin are Murdo Hesketh, a cousin of Lord Hallowhulme, together with Hallowhulme's teenage son and a friend of his.
Meanwhile, Murdo pursues Billie as both suspect and object of desire. Echoes of The Tempest, drownings, play-acting, revelations of parentage: It's about racial tensions, homecomings, bereavement and the rediscovery of the creative self.
A remote island off the west coast of Scotland, hauntingly evoked in moods of mist and fog, is the setting for a complex family drama. The year is and Billie Paxton, a young, dyslexic woman, is travelling with her older sister Edith and her brother-in-law Henry Maslen to the Scottish island of Kissack and Skilling. Of course, Billie is innocent, but it'll be a while before Murdo discovers this.
Posted by: Akinokinos | on October 2, 2012
The central character, writer Renate Anderson, meditates on her own losses while searching for the truth about a seemingly accidental death. I also loved Billie herself, and I challenge any reader to do otherwise; she has her imperfections, oh yes, but she's a person of great integrity and good heart. His emerging talent is convincingly shown, as is the family life he describes.
On Kissack and Skilling, the intricately interwoven lives of a host of islanders, particularly the inhabitants of Kiss Castle, give Billie plenty to ponder. I felt the depiction of dyslexic Billie and the condition she suffered which was in those days without a name to be excellently done, as was Billie's attempts to overcome her affliction by substituting her own means of recording for conventional writing.
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