These pieces read like the freshest of recent novels: clever, restrained and wittily observant. They range across the personal and the observational. There are essays on her lifetime of being an All Black wife (once an AB, always an AB); her love of teaching, education and the young; and a powerful essay on the death of her baby, Toby, striking in its honesty.
Linda is interested in family and friendship; shared and sometimes distorted memories. Her personal truths link to universal truths. Linda explores the era in which she grew up, and her experiences are timeless. She looks at living overseas, at children leaving home, at house-hunting in Wellington, at travelling with a grandchild, at Leonard Cohen concerts as a tribal gathering.
The essay collection as memoir is a genre gaining momentum, and in the hands of a writer as accomplished as Linda Burgess. its universality is charming.