Quinine, Kelly Ana Morey (Huia Publishers, 2010) 315 pp., NZ$35.00.
When I was a teenager living in Port Moresby, my parents decided we would take our allotted leave in New Zealand. Full of touristic bonhomie, we chatted to a taxi driver who asked where we were from. ‘Papua’, we replied breezily. ‘Oh,’ he said. ‘Is that North Island or South?’ Once we realised what he was on about, we explained. ‘Oh yairs,’ came the rejoinder, ‘I knew you was from the tropics; you’ve got the yeller look about yer.’ So our sense of being part of a broad Pacific community was stripped away by parochial focus and our healthy suntans reduced to a medical routine of fighting off malaria with jaundice-inducing pills. These two elements frame the recent novel Quinine.