Hastings District Libraries

Tuesday, 30 January 2018

Gods and Little Fishes - a boy and a beach by Bruce Ansley

I loved this book - it really resonated with my memories of a carefree outdoor childhood filled with the right balance of security, discovery and mystery. Bruce Ansley has captured the essence of a post Second World War, pre-Information Age upbringing. Safety wasn't as all-encompassing as it is today, and children's learning wasn't as circumscribed, with some inevitable casualties (and lots of near misses). It was interesting to see the dynamics of friendships and family relationships change over the 40 years described, some things only making sense years after they happened.

The environment of 1950's New Brighton isn't romanticised at all - the grey waves, the cold easterly, mutton and vegetables for dinner - and lends authenticity. Bruce's family was typical of the community in that it was large and finances were tight, but they still managed social activities like camping trips away, and belonging to the Scouts. Possibly there are times when he hasn't let facts get in the way of a good story but it is done in a entertaining way.

From the title I had expectations of a Beach Boys style surfing story, and I was glad to find something of a far more local flavour.
Posted by JMR

Catalogue link: Gods and Little Fishes

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