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About the book
  • Published: 4 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143774785
  • Imprint: Random House New Zealand
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

The Tally Stick

A gripping new novel from one of our leading writers.

A compulsive and chilling novel about subjugation, survival and the meaning of family.
Up on the highway, the only evidence that the Chamberlains had ever been there was two smeared tyre tracks in the mud leading into the almost undamaged screen of bushes and trees. No other cars passed that way until after dawn. By that time the tracks had been washed away by the heavy rain . . . It was a magic trick. After being in the country for only five days, the Chamberlain family had vanished into the air. The date was 4 April 1978.

In 2010 the remains of the eldest Chamberlain child have been discovered in a remote part of the West Coast, showing he lived for four years after the family disappeared. Found alongside him are his father’s watch and what turns out to be a tally stick, a piece of wood scored across, marking items of debt.

How had he survived and then died? Where was the rest of his family? And what is the meaning of the tally stick?

  • Pub date: 4 August 2020
  • ISBN: 9780143774785
  • Imprint: Random House New Zealand
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 288

About the Author

Carl Nixon

Carl Nixon is an award-winning short story writer, novelist and playwright, who is, as The New Zealand Listener declared, ‘stunningly talented’. He has twice won the Sunday Star Times Short Story Competition, and was runner-up for the Bank of New Zealand Katherine Mansfield Short Story Competition in 1999, and won its premier prize in 2007. His first book, Fish ’n’ Chip Shop Song and other stories went to number one on the New Zealand bestselling fiction list, and was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers Prize Best First Book.

Nixon completed his first novel while he was the Ursula Bethell/Creative New Zealand Writer in Residence at Canterbury University in 2006. The resulting novel, Rocking Horse Road, saw him identified as ‘a major talent’ by North & South, and was long-listed for the Dublin IMPAC Awards 2009. His second novel, Settlers’ Creek, was also long-listed for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award, in 2012. His novels have been published in Germany by Weidle Verlag, and Rocking Horse Road appeared on several lists for the best crime novel in Germany in 2012.

His writing for theatre includes The Birthday Boy and The Raft, and he has adapted for the stage Lloyd Jones’s novel The Book of Fame and JM Coetzee’s Disgrace. The New Zealand Herald has said of him: ‘Nixon still shows what a master craftsman he can be . . . Exquisite writing.’

In North & South, Warwick Roger said of Rocking Horse Road: ‘Nixon writes beautifully. He gets the style and timbre of teenagers just right . . . Nixon has fulfilled the promise he showed with last year’s book of short stories, Fish ’n’ Chip Shop Song.’ Owen Marshall wrote of Settlers’ Creek: ‘With no flamboyance, but with talent and a scrupulous art, Carl Nixon establishes himself as one of our best younger writers.’

See more at www.carlnixon.co.nz/

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