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About the book
  • Published: 2 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781869791933
  • Imprint: Random House New Zealand
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 317

A Man Melting

Short Stories


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A startlingly original collection of short stories that was winner of the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book.

A startlingly original collection of short stories that was winner of the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Best First Book.

A son worries he is becoming too perfect a copy of his father. The co-owner of a weight-loss camp for teens finds himself running the black market in chocolate bars. A man starts melting and nothing can stop it, not even poetry.

This terrific collection of stories by an exciting new talent moves from the serious and realistic to the humorous and outlandish, each story copying an element from the previous piece in a kind of evolutionary chain. Amid pigeons with a taste for cigarette ash, a rash of moa sightings, and the identity crisis of an imaginary friend, the characters in these eighteen entertaining stories look for ways to reconnect with people and the world around them, even if that means befriending a robber wielding an iguana.

  • Pub date: 2 July 2010
  • ISBN: 9781869791933
  • Imprint: Random House New Zealand
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 317

About the Author

Craig Cliff

Craig Cliff was born in Palmerston North in 1983. Earning Cliff the title of the Sunday Star -Times’s ‘Hot Writer of 2011’, his first short-story collection, A Man Melting, won the 2011 Commonwealth Writers' Prize Best First Book, the judges commenting: ‘This book is of the moment, and is rightly at home on a global platform. Cliff is a talent to watch and set to take the literary world by storm.’ His short stories have been published in New Zealand, Australia and the United Kingdom; one of them being selected for Essential New Zealand Short Stories, edited by Owen Marshall.

His first novel, The Mannequin Makers, was published in 2013, and has sold editions in Australia, the US, the UK and Romania. The New York Times said of it: ‘A book that makes grand promises and delivers.’

In addition to fiction, Craig has published poetry, essays and reviews, been a newspaper columnist and judged poetry and short story competitions. His work has been translated into German, Spanish and Romanian and he participated in the University of Iowa’s International Writers Program in 2013. He was Robert Burns Fellow at the University of Otago in 2017 and currently lives in Wellington with his young family.

Also by Craig Cliff

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Praise for A Man Melting

“This book is of the moment, and is rightly at home on a global platform. Cliff is a talent to watch and set to take the literary world by storm.”

Commonwealth Writers Prize judges

“Simply the best new collection of short stories I have read in an age.”

Nicholas Reid

“A Man Melting heralds the arrival of an electrifying new voice on the New Zealand writing scene. These stories are perfectly formed, standalone gems, but the collection also brings together satisfying harmonies as a whole.”

The New Zealand Herald

“unforgettable, encapsulates what the best short story should do: resonate and hone how we see our world.”

Angela Readman, The Short Review

“Gorgeous insanity is the purview of Craig Cliff.”

Kylie Klein-Nixon, Kapi-Mana News

“Cliff's quarry is the human heart and he hones in on it with fierce accuracy.”

Kate Duigan, Landfall


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