Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “The Godwits Fly” as Want to Read:
The Godwits Fly
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

The Godwits Fly

3.61  ·  Rating details ·  100 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Robin Hyde's wistful and engaging novel, first published in 1938, has now become a New Zealand classic. Strongly autobiographical, it vividly conveys the intensely felt worlds of the adolescent - love, poetry and England - and the enthralling but sometimes painful experience of growing up female; and its picture of family life in early-twentieth-century Wellington, in all ...more
Paperback, 373 pages
Published April 21st 2016 by Persephone Books (first published 1938)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about The Godwits Fly, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about The Godwits Fly

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 3.61  · 
Rating details
 ·  100 ratings  ·  13 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of The Godwits Fly
Aug 07, 2018 rated it liked it
Recommended to Hilary by: Requested library to buy
2.5 stars. I loved Eliza's thoughts and spirited actions, I loved her free thinking. In between was family life shown from Eliza's viewpoint, which, from a child's angle was rambling, random and inconclusive. Eliza is just the sort of child I love to read about but sadly the rest of the story lost my interest. I stopped half way through the book.
Feb 20, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: persephone
A lovely autobiographical novel about growing up in Wellington, New Zealand, in the early years of the 20th century. The language is beautifully poetical, and there are some wonderful descriptions of New Zealand and Australia, although I found in the end it gets hard to take so much lyrical prose in a full length novel.

It's not a cheerful story as it turns into a catalogue of missed opportunities and lost hopes, but since it mirrors the author's own devastatingly unhappy life, that's
Jun 14, 2016 rated it really liked it
This is the latest release from Persephone Press whose classic books I adore. This book is unlike any other I have read from their catalog so far. The entire time I was reading it I felt as if I were in the midst of a dream with lots of sounds and imagines, some vivid and some out-of-focus. And the dialogue was sparse and poetic, sometimes difficult to understand. The main character, a girl named Eliza, is an aspiring poet from a very tender age so it is no wonder that the author chose such a ...more
May 21, 2016 rated it really liked it
Part stream-of-consciousness, part autobiographical, this is an intriguing novel written by New Zealand author Robin Hyde (born Iris Dickinson). Beginning just after the start of the 20th century and running through to the 1920s, The Godwits Fly is the story of the Hannay family: mother Augusta, father John and the four children Carly, Eliza, Sandra and Kitchit. Told almost entirely from Elizas point of view, the Hannays are a dysfunctional family living in Wellington and trying to survive at a ...more
Dec 01, 2017 rated it liked it
I read this book because it is set in New Zealand and I was born and lived there for the first 2 years of my life. I really enjoyed the first chapters particularly as they take place in Wellington where I was born. However I did find it rather wordy and too descriptive. It is based on the author's childhood so perhaps that's why it lacks an actual story often being disjointed and confusing. Characters appeared from nowhere with no introduction. However I enjoyed enough of it much of it was ...more
Stephen Barker
At times poetic and insightful - though overall feels more like a series of oddly frenetic vignettes rather than a satisfying novel.
Dec 24, 2016 rated it really liked it
Persephone book 117 The Godwits Fly is a semi-autobiographical novel by New Zealand author Robin Hyde (born Iris Wilkinson), of which I had extraordinary high hopes. The prose is glorious, poetic and continually a delight to read. Hydes descriptions of landscape particularly are sumptuous as are the snippets of poetry we get throughout the novel. However, while there is nothing to actually dislike about this novel, I found myself slightly underwhelmed though I dont know why. Perhaps I just ...more
Linda Foster
Dec 03, 2014 rated it it was amazing
A superb telling of life in Wellington nz early 2oth century. Amazing use of language in this almost autobiography. Stunning
Dec 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Good, but a bit too abstract in parts.
Oct 11, 2010 added it
I loved this book. Beautifully written and really paints a picture of Wellington in the early 1900's. It made my heart ache with longing for NewZealand.
Oct 22, 2020 rated it really liked it
Dense with imagery. Poetic, beautiful, sad.
Aug 21, 2013 added it
Shelves: did-not-finish
This was a book club book. I'm really enjoying this book club as the titles are all local stories/authors so it's a nice way to get to know NZ but I could not get into this one. Lovely writing but it's pretty autobiographical which reads too much like a memoir for me. I'd rather just read a biography of Robin Hyde who was a very interesting woman and writer.
Apr 26, 2019 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Much like Katherine Mansfield in style and voice. Starts well but loses its way about the mid-point. I skipped a chapter in an effort to wade past the boggy middle, but found it went further than Id anticipated. Had to stop in the end. I just could not make myself soldier on any longer. ...more
rated it liked it
Oct 30, 2013
Alannah Gunter
rated it it was amazing
Jun 16, 2016
rated it really liked it
Nov 17, 2017
rated it really liked it
Dec 22, 2012
rated it liked it
May 06, 2019
rated it it was ok
Jul 07, 2020
rated it liked it
Feb 19, 2018
rated it really liked it
May 29, 2013
rated it really liked it
Apr 24, 2020
Ragan Clark
rated it it was amazing
Jan 05, 2019
Helen Wilson
rated it liked it
Apr 30, 2017
Faye Maclennan
rated it liked it
Jul 21, 2018
Cori Samuel
rated it really liked it
Dec 11, 2012
rated it it was ok
Jul 02, 2012
rated it did not like it
Apr 22, 2017
rated it it was amazing
Apr 02, 2019
Mary Alice
rated it liked it
Jul 16, 2020
« previous 1 3 4 next »
topics  posts  views  last activity   
Persephone Books: The Godwits Fly group read 1 17 Feb 20, 2018 06:51AM  

Readers also enjoyed

  • The Book of Fame
  • The Shades of Magic Series (Shades of Magic, #1-3)
  • The House of Special Purpose
  • The Fourth Hand
  • Reading in the Dark
  • The Virgin Blue
  • A Little Hatred (The Age of Madness, #1)
  • Gardening Projects for Kids: Fantastic Ideas for Making Things, Growing Plants and Flowers, and Attracting Wildlife, with 60 Practical Projects and 500 Photographs
  • Prime Cut (Cato Kwong, #1)
  • The Rift
  • Breaking Point (Lucy Kincaid, #13)
  • The Comedy of Errors
  • Ramayana: Divine Loophole
  • The Taming of the Shrew
  • When We Were Vikings
  • Bonjour Tristesse & A Certain Smile
  • Iceland
  • The Art of Travel
See similar books…
Iris Guiver Wilkinson, better known as Robin Hyde, her chosen name as poet and writer, was born on 19 January 1906 in Cape Town, South Africa. She was the second daughter of Edith Ellinor (Nelly) Butler, an Australian nurse who on her way Home had met and married George Edward Wilkinson, an Englishman working on the installation of a post and telegraph system in South Africa. When Iris was a month ...more

News & Interviews

“Let us remember: One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” That’s Malala Yousafzai, Pakistani human rights...
57 likes · 18 comments