WILLIAM DIREEN

Nusquama

Alpha Books

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Nusquama by William Direen was published in New Zealand in 2002. It is a series of novellas, telling the histories of various extended families attached to members of a New Zealand pop group. The stories stretch back to the nineteenth century, and describe the histories of the mainly pakeha (European, Tongan, East-European, Iranian) members of the band. The novel concerns itself with mid- to late 20th century New Zealand society, in partricular its use of violence to resolve conflicts. It traverses two world wars and the Cold War years, and tries to explain how the kiwi pop-group phenomenon of the 1980's was an attempt to deal with the legacy of the bloody and violent separations (and superstitions) caused by these global events. The development of the Maori member of the band is also a reflection of the development of Maori self-perception during these years, culminating in a new-born sense of identity.