What to do when the past crashes into the present? It can happen anywhere: in carports and kitchens – on stairwells – at the airport. Set in Aotearoa New Zealand’s small towns and cities, these ten stories by Leanne Radojkovich dissect moments where the protagonists are confronted with truth and must decide whether to stand, fall or run.
Leanne Radojkovich’s writing is full of crisp, precise details, and often contains a sting. In Hailman, the follow-up to her 2017 debut First fox, the stories still have a dreamy, mythic feel, but are now rooted more firmly in the dusty suburbs and countryside of Aotearoa.
In the title story, a child builds a snowman out of ice with her mum’s friend Joyce and skirts round the edge of some adult truths. In ‘Growing’, a daughter visits her mother in the nursing home and tries to bond with her over flower seeds. In ‘Double Dose’, Patsy makes a Covid-y journey back to her hometown and touches on unpleasant memories of the past.
‘There is nothing ‘showy’ about Radojkovich’s writing. These are the well-honed words of an expert. Most of the stories use carefully crafted first person narration. In fact, there is such close proximity to the storyteller it’s easy to forget these tales are fictional.’ – Nod Ghosh, Takahē
“These stories are like someone whispering a song you really want to listen to from across the room, you have to shut up and listen.” – Rym Kechacha, Lucy Writers Platform
“These tiny little stories pack a fair punch. Beautiful new collection” – Jan Carson
“Clear eyed and nuanced, these deeply moving stories show characters whose pasts often catch up with their present lives. As in the best of poetry, it leaves your heart a few sizes larger.” – Frankie McMillan (The Father of Octopus Wrestling, and other small fictions)
Praise for First fox
‘Startlingly honest, warm and at times darkly humorous… Radojkovich shows us things that are not often spoken of aloud.’ Literature Works
‘Accessible, focused, and can deliver one hell of a punch.’ Landfall Review
Praise for Hailman
‘Perhaps I love this collection so much, because it is a book I feel. I feel what is present and I feel what is absent. I choose the word ‘prism’ to underline how the thematic hues spark and shift. You see life in sensory gleams. […] It is a collection to lose yourself in and then discover multiple rewarding paths to your own bridges and connections. It’s narrative as nourishment.’ – Paula Greene for Poetry Shelf