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Wooden Horses

by James George. Hazard Press, RRP $24.95. 192pp. ISBN: 978-1877161780.

'Why do they call you Horseshoe?'
It is the child.
'It's what I do,' he says.
'Can you make shoes for my horse?'
'Never come across one yet I couldn't.'
She steps towards him. He tenses. She lifts her hands spreading them in the pale glow of the moon. And in her palms sits a wooden horse.

Don't be fooled from the description on the back of the book that this is a historical tome dedicated to the early farriers of New Zealand.

What you will find as you turn the pages is a historical novel with myriad storylines and connecting the present with early New Zealand.

Young New Zealand writer James George's first novel is not a straightforward book -- you must keep your wits about you as the narrative moves from the late 1800s to the 1990s throughout the book.

Several storylines are on the go at once, each moving back and forth. At first I thought I would not make it through the first few chapters but on getting used to the style of the book I am glad I persevered.

Revealed is an often sad tale of two people whose lives in different centuries have parallels over the generations. An old woman, Phoenix, seeks out young Tom Soloman, a peacekeeper who served in Bosnia, to tell him the story of her life.

He listens and comes to terms with what has happened in his life -- and makes an amazing discovery.



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