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It is late summer, late century, Oxford. Donovan O'Dwyer is dead, but for his fellow expatriate Mike Newall their shared past is still hauntingly alive.
C.K. Stead was Professor of English at the University of Auckland. He is well known both among students of literature for his superb study of Yeats, Eliot and the Georgian Poets, The New Poetic, and among readers of contemporary writing for his eight novels. He is the only New Zealand writer to have won the New Zealand Book Award for both poetry and fiction, winning twice for the novels All Visitors Ashore and The Singing Whakapapa. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature, and in 1974 he was awarded the C.B.E. for services to New Zealand literature.
Two novels by a critically acclaimed New Zealand writer - All Visitors Ashore is set in 1951 and in Auckland the young Curt Skidmore's head is full of novels waiting to be unravelled and his trousers full of something much more irrepressible. Talking About O'Dwyer is set in Oxford and Oxford don Mike Newall after attending a colleague's funeral he reveals a secret that the family of a Maori soldier killed during World War Two placed a curse on O'Dwyer - and the story is not just O'Dwyer's but Newall's as well.