Thursday, 19 May 2016

From the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle

Image result for From the Cutting Room of Barney KettleFrom the Cutting Room of Barney Kettle
 Kate De Goldi
Longacre [Penguin Random House]
NZ $30
Young Adult fiction enthusiasts relish E.L. Konigsburg’s writing. Kate De Goldi’s “homage to the incomparable Mrs Konigsburg” takes the form of a manuscript typed two-fingered from hospital by D.T.S.  
From his “meticulously ordered files,” D.T.S. has re-created not only the achievements of a keen young amateur film-maker, Barney Kettle, but also the beloved High Street district where both Barney and D.T.S. lived and worked. While the story (or stories) seem to be about Barney’s efforts to get his friends to co-operate in his films, it gradually becomes clear that a catastrophe has hit the un-named City (which occupies the same space in our mixed-up mental memory files as Christchurch) and that Barney’s summer of filming records a community that has been destroyed. 
 Like one of Barney’s films, the story takes several viewpoints and D.T.S. himself is an unseen narrator dropping hints to his readers at each chapter’s end. All adults and many young readers will enjoy this richly detailed and poignant novel.
Trevor Agnew
Note: This review was first published in Fairfax newspapers on 1 October 2015. 

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