The New Zealand Project by Max Harris (Bridget Williams Books, $40)
It would be tempting to say that Max Harris is a young man in a hurry. Certainly there is a sense of urgency evident in the pages of The New Zealand Project, the title of this, his extraordinary first book: extraordinary in its maturity, its intellectual scope, its creative vision and its – literally – death-defying origins. But to say he is in a hurry would be to mischaracterise his ultimate ambition and the deliberate, careful and often lyrical manner in which he presents and interrogates it. Which is just as well, since his goal for the book is nothing less than ‘rediscovering New Zealand’s lost direction’.
I haven’t lived long enough yet to have lost a sense of hope or a sense of the possible. But I’ve lived long enough to know that things are moving too slowly for those of us with hope, who want to make the impossible possible. And I’ve lived close enough to death to feel like we have no time to lose.
– Max Harris, The New Zealand Project