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Craig Sherbourne’s wry outlook on life was shaped by growing up in a small town in the north island of New Zealand, where his parents owned the only pub in town. Very early in this funny, charming book we are given Sherbourne’s telling insight into his parents’ respective character flaws via his nicknames for them—his lackadaisical father is known as ‘Winks’ and his insufferably snobbish mother as ‘Heels’. Racial tensions between the Pakehas (Europeans) and the Maoris are always on display in the front bar of the Heritage Hotel, and after yet another brawl Heels forces Winks to sell up and the family decamps for the glamorous life ‘across the ditch’ in Sydney, their pockets flush with $400,000. The bulk of the book comprises Sherbourne’s bittersweet recalling of Heels and Winks’ desperate attempts at social climbing among the ‘colourful characters’ of the Sydney racetracks of the 1970s as their ‘pile’ of money rapidly shrinks; and of his own rocky path toward adolescence. The story ends rather abruptly at a crucial juncture in the teenage Craig’s life, which might disappoint some readers—but the good news from Black Inc is that Sherborne is working on a sequel, due in 2007. Tim Coronel is the editor of AB&P C. 2005 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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Craig Sherbourne’s wry outlook on life was shaped by growing up in a small town in the north island of New Zealand, where his parents owned the only pub in town. Very early in this funny, charming book we are given Sherbourne’s telling insight into his parents’ respective character flaws via his nicknames for them—his lackadaisical father is known as ‘Winks’ and his insufferably snobbish mother as ‘Heels’. Racial tensions between the Pakehas (Europeans) and the Maoris are always on display in the front bar of the Heritage Hotel, and after yet another brawl Heels forces Winks to sell up and the family decamps for the glamorous life ‘across the ditch’ in Sydney, their pockets flush with $400,000. The bulk of the book comprises Sherbourne’s bittersweet recalling of Heels and Winks’ desperate attempts at social climbing among the ‘colourful characters’ of the Sydney racetracks of the 1970s as their ‘pile’ of money rapidly shrinks; and of his own rocky path toward adolescence. The story ends rather abruptly at a crucial juncture in the teenage Craig’s life, which might disappoint some readers—but the good news from Black Inc is that Sherborne is working on a sequel, due in 2007. Tim Coronel is the editor of AB&P C. 2005 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

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