Set in Kawerau during the 1950s when the town is being constructed around the mill, this novel is evocative of New Zealand at that time. The main character, Sandra McLeod, arrives as a child from England with her ‘£10 Pom’ family, but their new life isn’t what they’d hoped it would be. Via flashbacks recalled by Sandra when she returns to Kawerau to visit her ailing mother in 1975, the gradual disintegration of the McLeod family is recounted: her mother’s retreat into mental, her father’s heavy drinking, the drowning of Sandra’s fey little sister, in the local Tarawera Falls. Sandra, after giving birth to a baby fathered by a local Māori boy, runs away, swearing never to return. But return she does, to make peace and to find the child she left behind. ‘A Place to Stand’ is a uniquely New Zealand story in which the landscape looms large.
‘A compelling and really quite haunting read from a new and distinctive voice in New Zealand fiction. I thoroughly enjoyed it.’ Deborah Challinor.