Saturday, 25 November 2006

Take a Balloon, Diana Robinson, 2003

TAKE A BALLOON Diana Robinson, Hazard Press Christchurch, New Zealand, 2003, 118 pages, hardback, $19.95. ISBN 1-877270-51-2

Take a Balloon is the well-meaning story of Annie, a teenage girl who agonises about being overweight, and compensates by telling outrageous stories. Although topical – one character is even harassed by text messages – this novel has a heavy-handed narrative style which means that the characters never come to life, not even Annie. Nobody really interacts and there is surprisingly little dialogue.
The plot line- that Joe the tramp (actually a famed former writer and war correspondent) solves Annie’s weight problem by begging her bus money and lunch, so that Annie has to walk more and eat less – is implausible. On the other hand, Annie’s own stories are inventive and magical.

Trevor Agnew

First published in The Press, Christchurch, New Zealand on March 6th 2004

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