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About the book
  • Published: 1 May 2010
  • ISBN: 9781877460548
  • Imprint: Random House New Zealand
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 212

A Long Slow Affair of the Heart


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Wine, food, love, a canal boat and France. Craving adventure, a writer goes in search of happiness on the French canals. Will his marriage make it home again?

Wine, food, love, a canal boat and France. Craving adventure, a writer goes in search of happiness on the French canals. Will his marriage make it home again?

Craving adventure, Bruce Ansley goes in search of happiness on the French canals. He and his wife Sally buy a canal boat, the River Queen, in Holland and sail it through Belgium to France. They travel through old battlefields, the great vineyards and wineries of Burgundy, and find the ideal way to live in Paris: on a boat.

La Belle France seems flawlessly to live up to Bruce’s expectations. The journey takes the couple through quaint villages and picturesque countryside; it introduces them to colourful people, excellent food and lots and lots of wine. Bruce and Sally find themselves part of a floating community whose people range from hilarious to eccentric to astonishing.

Yet aboard the River Queen another drama plays out. Fault lines appear in the perfect life, threatening the ideal escape with an unhappy ending. Throwing the cards in the air is one thing, but knowing how they will land is another. With humour and a poignantly candid touch, Ansley documents a journey within a journey: the internal shifts of a marriage that just might not make it home.

This acclaimed travel memoir by award-winning New Zealand writer takes us vividly and unforgettably to France. But it also takes us further than that — deep into the winding, secret interior of the heart.

  • Pub date: 1 May 2010
  • ISBN: 9781877460548
  • Imprint: Random House New Zealand
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 212

About the Author

Bruce Ansley

Bruce Ansley writes of a New Zealand he knows and loves. For many years he lived in a tiny traditional bach in Golden Bay, and he built a house in the far reaches of Pelorus Sound. He has worked as a commercial fisherman in Fiordland and as a deer farmer on Banks Peninsula. He has also called each of the four main cities home.

For more than two decades Ansley was a writer for New Zealand Listener, before becoming a full-time author in 2007. He has held fellowships at Oxford and Cambridge Universities, and has won a number of journalism awards. His television credits include writing for A Week of It and McPhail and Gadsby.

Ansley made his first boat out of a banana box when he was eight years old, beginning a lifelong romance with the New Zealand coast. On a fine day he can usually be found out on the water in his Norwegian motor sailer. His most recent book, Islands: A New Zealand Journey, with photographer Jane Ussher, features islands from the Cavallis in the north to the Titi islands in the far south, in waters he grew to love as a fisherman.

Ansley’s 2012 book Coast: A New Zealand Journey, another collaboration with Jane Ussher, won Best Illustrated Non-fiction Book at the New Zealand Post Book Awards in 2014. His other books include A Long Slow Affair of the Heart, the tale of a married couple’s canal boat trip through France; Christchurch Heritage, a personal account of what his home city stood to lose in its 2010 and 2011 earthquakes; Gods and Little Fishes, a memoir of a beach suburb in the 1950s and ’60s; and A Fabled Land: The Story of Canterbury’s Famous Mesopotamia Station, an account of life on the station founded by the novelist Samuel Butler. Ansley’s eighth book, Wild Roads: A New Zealand Journey, was an epic drive around New Zealand’s most dangerous, infamous, remote and remarkable roads.

Ansley has three sons and lives with his wife Sally on Waiheke Island.

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