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The Godwits Fly

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3.72  ·  Rating details ·  82 ratings  ·  12 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)
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Average rating 3.72  · 
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Hilary
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.
Melissa
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 lyrical ...more
Rosemary
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. <br /><br />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 unavoidable. ...more
Inken
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
Ali
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 expected ...more
Kate
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 absorbing ...more
Stephen Barker
At times poetic and insightful - though overall feels more like a series of oddly frenetic vignettes rather than a satisfying novel.
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
Katie
Dec 27, 2013 rated it liked it
Good, but a bit too abstract in parts.
Hannah
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.
Rachel
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.
Karen
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
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Persephone Books: The Godwits Fly group read 1 17 Feb 20, 2018 06:51AM  

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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