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The new novel from Hamish Clayton, award-winning author of Wulf, The Pale North is a disarming, exquisitely written work with a haunting love story at its heart.

The new novel from Hamish Clayton, award-winning author of Wulf, The Pale North is a disarming, exquisitely written work with a haunting love story at its heart.

1998, Wellington. A series of catastrophic earthquakes has left the city destroyed. Returning to the ruin from London, a New Zealand writer explores the devastation, compelled to find out for himself what has become of the city he left years ago. As he drifts through the desolate streets, home now to the shell-shocked and dispossessed, he finds among the survivors a woman and a child. And although they are haunted, hostile and broken, the strangers feel eerily familiar to him: as if they promise the answers to the mysteries he once swore to leave behind.

A layered meditation on love, history, creativity and loss, The Pale North is an audacious and disarming novel, a forensic journey into one writer's short but singularly brilliant body of work.

Invoking W. G. Sebald, Julian Barnes and Lloyd Jones, Hamish Clayton's new novel is every bit as visionary and intrepid as its award-winning predecessor, Wulf.


Award-winning New Zealand author Hamish Clayton's second novel, The Pale North, is a memorable and challenging exploration of myth, memory and the role of fiction in our perceptions of the world. . . . The novel's dualistic structure is a lovely example of form following function, creating a clever symmetry in which the central themes of the first half are echoed and amplified. . . . It is certainly well worth the read.

Cushla McKinney, Otago Daily Times

If you like ghost stories, mysteries, apocalypse tales or chick lit, The Pale North could be for you – but expect to be challenged.

Jim Chipp, Hutt News

WHAT AN opening sentence: ''I came back to Wellington in 1998, the year of the earthquake.'' That is the first line of Hamish Clayton's short, clever second novel, The Pale North.

Philip Matthews, Sunday Star-Times

The result is remarkable. The Pale North is short, but it's daring, fascinatingly textured, intellectually compelling, rich with metaphor and emotional resonance. Motifs of identity and connection glint through it; the actualities of life and language are constantly tested and rearranged. . . . Excellent.

David Hill, Weekend Herald

The debut novel Wulf by former Hawke's Bay man Hamish Clayton is one of the best books I've read. So I couldn't wait to get stuck into his new novel Pale North. Again I was in awe of Clayton's imaginative narrative. It begins as a ghost story, following the life of a New Zealand writer as he moves through the ruined streets of Wellington following an earthquake. Then the story changes as a new narrator takes up the story. It's a brilliant read from this very talented writer.'

Linda Hall, Hawkes Bay Weekend

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    July 29, 2015


    224 pages

    RRP $30.00

    Online retailers

    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.co.nz

  • EBook


    July 29, 2015

    Penguin eBooks

    Online retailers

    • Amazon Kindle NZ
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    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

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