This is the title of the new book from Mark Pickering. I have received an advance copy to review for a magazine.
For those who don't know Mark and his work (why not?)he is the trampers tramper, hut aficionado and author of many guide and tramping books.
The new book takes about 15 huts from around the backcountry and he weaves a social history around each. Fascinating stories of musterers, rabbiters, boundary keepers and water race men etc and how and why the huts are where they are.( Do you know how long the longest water race in NZ is? You will be surprised.)
As he says these are the stories of solitary men who seldom wrote anything down and the huts are perhaps the only evidence left of their passing. Lord Bledisloe did graffiti a hut in the Ahuriri to mark his passing.
If you have ever lain in a hut at night listening to the rain beating on the roof and wondered who has shared this hut over the years, this book is for you.
Mark is at his best telling a story, as in "The Hills" and "A Trampers Journey" he has a great eye for the landscape and paints a wonderful picture in words. He understands the human condition and affects solitude have on the soul.
The book has been carefully researched over many years and this adds a richness to the story telling and personalities involved and gives each hut a palpable historic fabric.
I did find the section towards the end of each chapter where he deals with prosaic matters such as directions to the hut and others of a similar genre interrupted the narrative and may have been better in an appendix. The book becomes part story part guide book, others will like this arrangement.
The book will be in the bookshops in time for Christmas I'm sure and would make a great present for anyone remotely interested in back country huts, their construction and the people who built and originally lived in them.
When considering an online book store, consider the shop where poor old pimkey tries to make enough money to go tramping. http://www.mcleodsbooks.co.nz/books/Huts_Untold_Stories_From_BackCountry_New_Zealand/1877257915.html
Does anyone else have this book yet?
I'm about half way through and so far it's a brilliant book for authorship and editing, but having carried it around (carefully!) for 2 weeks, which may have resulted in more pressure on the pages than might normally occur when simply sitting on a shelf in a shop, I've also noticed the ink isn't sticking properly.
Any page with a reasonably dark photograph, sometimes even text, is leaving an impression on the facing page. The inside of the two covers is now quite a mucky gray, and so are many of the pages inside, including many of the pages to which I've not even opened the book at this point.
Do I just have a printing dud that might be worth taking back for replacement, or are they all like this? I'm no expert on printing, but I'm wondering if something might have needed to have been left to dry for longer than what actually happened.