Author(s): Laurence Fearnley
'I suddenly found myself in front of a scene of such beauty that it took my breath away ...' As a boy in the late 1930s, young Boden's life is changed for ever the day his neighbour Dudley drives him over the mountains into the vast snow-covered plains of the Mackenzie Country. He realises he will never be the same again. Years later, the 20-year-old Boden, now a university student, helps build an alpine hut high up on the eastern slopes of Mount Cook. Living in snow caves while the hut is built, Boden forms important relationships with members of his working party, most notably with Walter, a conscientious objector from the Second World War. Real historical characters (such as Edmund Hillary and literary editor Charles Brasch) make appearances in the novel. This is powerful new territory for Laurence Fearnley and marks her emergence into the very front rank of New Zealand fiction writing. The Hut Builder is without question her best novel yet, combining her proven story-telling skills with her passionate love of the mountains, the wilderness and the sky.
The Hut Builder by Laurence Fearnley finally made it to the top of my book stack beside the bed. What a marvellous story - an ingenious blend of fact and fiction, told by Boden Black, a Kiwi lad in the 1940's, who discovers the joy to be found in the mountains when he helps to build a hut on the slopes of Mt Cook. Well that's the bare bones of the story, and in Boden the author has created a memorable character that I really felt I knew. Another unforgettable character is Walter, who shares with Boden the story of his war years imprisoned as a conscientous objector, when the two of them are in an ice cave waiting out a storm. Don't miss Laurence Fearnley speaking at the granary Festival Cafe Saturday 15 October 2011 at 3.30 pm. - Jan
Finalist in the 2011 New Zealand Post Book Awards - Fiction category
Laurence Fearnley is the author of seven novels. Her second novel, Room, was shortlisted for the Montana New Zealand Book Awards in 2001. She has been awarded several fellowships, notably the 2004 Artists to Antarctica fellowship, the 2006 Island of Residencies fellowship in Tasmania, and the 2007 Robert Burns fellowship at the University of Otago. Her book Edwin and Matilda was runner-up for the Montana Award in 2008.