Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley by Danyl McLauchlan (Victoria University Press, 2016), 376 pp., $30
A few months ago, after nearly a decade overseas, my husband and I began preparing to bring our young family back to Wellington. But where in Wellington? You have Mt Victoria, with its Art Nouveau architecture and well-heeled populace; the sleepy seaside-village vibe of Island Bay; Kelburn and Northland and Karori, winding with a deceptive laziness up the hillside; you have the southern bays, houses teetering precariously on ragged and exposed cliff faces, all the better to catch the walloping force of a southerly storm.
It’s a big decision made all the more difficult by the space of nine years and the curious feeling of being a visitor in one’s own city, that despite a close familiarity we don’t really know it at all.
Interesting timing, then, that in the midst of this process, Danyl McLauchlan’s Mysterious Mysteries of the Aro Valley, which plants a sinister underbelly in the most unlikely of Wellington settings, should happen upon my desk. [Read more…]