Rich Man Road
by Ann Glamuzina (Eunola, $30)
Reviewed by Judith Nathan
Being of Dalmatian descent, author Ann Glamuzina has been able to tell a vividly-realised story of an elderly nun looking back to her life in Dalmatia in World War Two, her escape to a refugee camp and her struggles to settle into New Zealand. It is a fictional diary grounded in facts, for example the British refugee camp in Egypt. The author grew up with stories of Dalmatia and spent several months there. Through her research with the help of Samoan friends, Glamuzina is also able to create a convincing back story for a young Samoan nun; this is told in the third person, interspersed in the elderly nun’s diary.
The two disparate characters, with their parallel histories of forced uprooting and difficult resettlement, came to inhabit neighbouring rooms in an Auckland convent where Olga decided to write the diary for Pualele to read after her death. It reveals the guilt that Olga has carried throughout her life because of the consequences of an episode in her childhood.