Something Else by David Parkyn.
Wellington: Piedog Press (2016).
Pb, 19 b/w illustrations, 388pp.
Reviewed by Justin Harrison.
David Parkyn takes a unique blend of art theory, maritime camaraderie and a touching story, and combines them elegantly in Something Else. A well-crafted and relaxed read, Something Else casts off on a journey in which lessons of life and art are intermingled delicately on many levels. If I were to liken Something Else to a nature walk, it would be a pleasant stroll along a meandering stream, the flow occasionally enlivened by unexpected rapids. The story follows antagonist, Danny, through various stages of his life with many pivotal moments happening during his childhood where he is consumed (in more ways than one) by the 1960s art scene. Changes back and forth through time are handled very well, and serve to build tension and engagement. Art is a dominant theme in the narrative, and a driving force for many of the characters. While I found the art theory discussions between the well-formed characters most illuminating, on one or two occasions the discourse, perhaps, served more to slow the flow than necessarily add to it.
There were moments when I felt that a particularly interesting aspect of the plot (a planned expedition to capture an iceberg) had perhaps been forgotten. Nevertheless, Parkyn manages to masterfully tie the loose ends in a remarkably satisfying arc
Overall, Something Else is an enjoyable read that will take you on an emotional journey and open your eyes to seeing art in a whole new spectrum.
Justin Harrison (Dept of Geography at the University of Canterbury), a member of the Christchurch Writers Guild, has a keen interest in poetry, fantasy and sci-fi genres and is close to completing his debut fantasy novel, The Eye of Torrbey. His work has involved travel to the extremes of Antarctica and the central desert of Iran and his writing is accented with small doses of scientific plausibility and imagery from the varied landscapes he has experienced.
First published takahe 88