A new book spoils Tom Goulter’s taste for seafood

Give a man a fish
The Catch: How fish­ing com­pan­ies rein­ven­ted slavery and plun­der the oceans, Michael Field, Awa Press
The Day No One Was Angry, Toon Tel­l­e­gen and Marc Boutav­ant (trans. Bill Nagelkerke), Gecko Press














Awa Press has spent 2014 col­lect­ing hon­ours for Rebecca Macfie’s essen­tial Tragedy at Pike River Mine: a por­trait of life and death at the inter­sec­tion of indus­tri­al labour and inter­na­tion­al busi­ness. This year the imprint has fol­lowed up with anoth­er brave, grip­ping work of insight.

Michael Field, author of Awa’s The Catch, will be known as a Her­ald journ­al­ist and Radio New Zealand’s Pacific cor­res­pond­ent. His long-stand­ing beat has encom­passed colo­ni­al struggles in Sam­oa and mul­tiple Fiji­an coups. In The Catch he reports on mat­ters far closer to home, telling the story of how fish gets from the Pacific Ocean to your belly. His efforts make for a page-turn­er but will sour read­ers’ next taste of hoki.

Field has uncovered work­ing and employ­ment con­di­tions to defy any releg­a­tion of slavery to the past, or to faraway powers. The cast have names you will know from both sides of Par­lia­ment and from the super­mar­ket freez­er. The abuses of human life and dig­nity coun­ten­anced by these and oth­ers deserve to be broad­cast — even if it makes choos­ing Friday’s din­ner harder.

Read­ing of human bar­bar­ity in our the­or­et­ic­ally civ­il­ised age is enough to boil the blood; and this year has seen no few rumin­a­tions on the role of anger. Politi­cians hollered at a raging pub­lic, who ful­min­ated against hoard­ings and journ­al­ists alike; who in turn became frus­trated at being yelled at no mat­ter what they did or didn’t report. There were days when it seemed that to be an adult, to have an idea what was going on, was to have your insides twis­ted in rage.

Gecko Press’s The Day No One Was Angry offers 12 short fables about anger, con­tent­ment and much in between. The beau­ti­ful volume is a book for chil­dren to delve into and out of, to love and think upon. And if anger enters the gut in child­hood but nev­er truly departs, it would be the rare adult who couldn’t find a use­ful thought or two within.

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About Tom Goulter

Tom is Fish­Head’s book colum­nist. A Mas­ter­’s degree in Cre­at­ive Writ­ing from Vic­tori­a’s Inter­na­tion­al Insti­tute of Mod­ern Let­ters launched Goulter on the life of an itin­er­ant man of let­ters, wan­der­ing the frac­tious United states in search of.. whatever it was Peter Fonda and Den­nis Hop­per were after, prob­ably. Instead of get­ting shot by red­necks (yet), he returned to Wel­ling­ton, where he essays semi-reg­u­larly into pop­u­lar cul­ture, psy­cho-geo­graphy, under­ground film-mak­ing, and the uncanny in all its myri­ad forms. Not a day goes by that he does not wish Man­ners Street still had Crys­tal city on it.

About Tom Goulter

Avatar photo Tom is FishHead's book columnist. A Master's degree in Creative Writing from Victoria's International Institute of Modern Letters launched Goulter on the life of an itinerant man of letters, wandering the fractious United states in search of.. whatever it was Peter Fonda and Dennis Hopper were after, probably. Instead of getting shot by rednecks (yet), he returned to Wellington, where he essays semi-regularly into popular culture, psycho-geography, underground film-making, and the uncanny in all its myriad forms. Not a day goes by that he does not wish Manners Street still had Crystal city on it.


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