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  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781869792176
  • Imprint: Random House New Zealand
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 268

Etiquette for a Dinner Party

Short Stories



Varied and accomplished, these stories of sustenance are entertaining, stimulating and original.

Varied and accomplished, these stories of sustenance are entertaining, stimulating and original. An ageing taxi driver reflects on mortality and the choices he has made in life as he indulges in a clandestine Italian feast. The friend of a dying woman delivers a sardonic commentary on the frenetic ritual of cake-baking that precedes death and grief. A young boy sets out to save his grandparents' marriage after discovering pornography in his grandfather's memorabilia.

This stunning debut collection observes a subtle unravelling of social etiquettes. Often hopeful, always moving, these darkly quirky stories demand the reader's attention beyond the final page. Etiquette for a Dinner Party showcases the breadth of this writer's talent - from the oh-so-recognisable and desperate efforts of a homesick tourist to enjoy the 'perfect' holiday, to the descent into madness of a lonely high-country farmer.

  • Published: 1 September 2010
  • ISBN: 9781869792176
  • Imprint: Random House New Zealand
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 268

About the author

Sue Orr

Sue Orr is the author of two short story collections. Etiquette for a Dinner Party (2008) won the Lilian Ida Smith Award and From Under the Overcoat (2011) was shortlisted for the 2012 New Zealand Post Book Awards and won the People’s Choice Award. Her fiction has been published in New Zealand and international anthologies and translated into Spanish. In 2011 she was the Sargeson Buddle Findlay Fellow.

She has taught creative writing at Manukau Institute of Technology and Massey University and has a PhD in Creative Writing from Victoria University, Wellington.

‘If you only have time for one new local writer in your life then make sure it is Sue Orr,’ wrote novelist and critic Nicky Pellegrino in the Herald on Sunday. Etiquette for a Dinner Party presents ‘a wonderfully diverse, yet believable collection of characters and maladies stretching across a classic New Zealand landscape’ (The Otago Daily Times), with stories which offer an ‘intriguing, sharp-eyed exploration of gaps and misunderstandings between people, and gaps between hopes or expectations and reality, with some nicely black twists and turns thrown in’ (The New Zealand Listener).

Fiona Kidman wrote of From Under the Overcoat: ‘Sue Orr’s stories have that mesmerising quality that makes the reader race on, hoping they will never end, yet desperate to find out what happens next. Their stylishness marks a new departure in contemporary short-story writing, her weaving of new and vibrant stories on to concepts that began with the great masters is high-wire risk taking that succeeds magnificently. I admire these stories immensely: by turn tender, sly, comic, and always deeply informed about the ways of the human heart.’

Orr has a twitter account: @SueMOrr.

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Short story club - 25 January

Read the story being discussed on Jesse Mulligan’s show on Radio New Zealand on 25 January 2018

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