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Civilisation: Twenty Places on the Edge of the World
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Civilisation: Twenty Places on the Edge of the World

4.29  ·  Rating details ·  86 ratings  ·  11 reviews
In small-town, suburban New Zealand, with its seemingly average people, can be found many stories of lives, loves, aspirations, and, sporadically, a dark secret or two. As reported by a much-followed columnist and awarded journalist, these rich, fascinating, and occasionally disturbing stories of settlements follow people living throughout New Zealand, from Kawakawa in the ...more
Paperback, 250 pages
Published 2012 by Awa Press
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Andrew McMillen
May 31, 2017 rated it really liked it
New Zealand journalist and author Steve Braunias loves people. He loves watching them, and hearing their stories, and trying to understand how they see the world and their place in it. The conceit of 'Civilisation' is that the writer picked 20 random spots in his home country – "small towns, unremarkable suburbs [...] wherever there was any sign of New Zealand civilisation." And then he hung around, soaked in the scene, knocked on their front doors, sat in their homes, drank with them, laughed ...more
Dead John Williams
May 29, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-favs, reviewed
Civilisationby Steve Braunias I like this bloke.

His writing is like a dream. My only criticism of this book is that it lacks Jane Ussher's stunning photographs. I bought the book so he would get some money and be encouraged to write more.A documentary of outback, off-the-track, take-it-or-leave-it New Zealand. He is able to talk to and higlight dysfunctional people without patronising or humouring them, just showing them as they are. I like the wry smile that lurks behind his words and his sharp
Kathryn Beek
May 13, 2018 rated it it was amazing
I feel as though I've spent the weekend going on an extraordinary road-trip.
Jake Goretzki
Mar 19, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2014
I liked this. One of the things that keeps me in research is the (often misguided) idea that there's usually a scratchy humanity in most average Joes, and that even the most unloved outposts can still hold a fascination and look beautiful in a sunset.

This is our Steve's take, most of the time. People are proud, boring, bitter and generally pretty crotchety and odd (and you'd recognise most of the older ones in a pub anywhere in the Anglo-Saxon world). But there are moments of charm, always.

Jul 13, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Steve Braunias is my favourite New Zealand writer. In this book he writes 20 essays on some unusual places and people in New Zealand, as well as Samoa and Antartica. His descriptions of the real people he meets and the places he visits are funny, poignant, brutally honest yet empathetic, and often quite touching. A thoroughly enjoyable book, and my only complaint is that it didn't include the photos by Jane Ussher that I think were part of the columns when they first appeared in North & ...more
Holly Painter
May 27, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I loved this book. In many ways, it had a Bill Bryson feel to it, but it was warmer, sharper, and funnier than even the best Bryson. I'm not sure how much someone with no connection to New Zealand would get out of it. I want to say everyone would love this book because it's so specific and well-written, but maybe you need to have the experience of the country to feel the particular kind of playful nostalgia Braunias is working with.
Brad H
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
A quirky book about some quirky places in NZ.
More please Steve.
Mar 17, 2013 rated it it was amazing
The ultimate chronicle of small-town NZ and its eccentric inhabitants - insightful and stunning!
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