Saturday, 15 October 2016

Squashed Possums by Jonathan Tindale

Squashed Possums: Off the Beaten Track in New Zealand by Jonathan Tindale
Self published in February 2015.

How I got this book:
Received a review copy from the author

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

'Ten years after returning from the New Zealand outback, Jon receives a mysterious manuscript in the post. Narrated by Jon's former home, the lone caravan, Squashed Possums reveals what it's like to live in the wild through four seasons, including New Zealand's coldest winter in decades.
Discover how Jon finds himself reversing off the edge of a cliff, meet the Maori chef who survived 9/11, the pioneers who paved the way, and catch sight of the elusive kiwi bird. Encounter hedgehogs that fly, possums that scream, and perhaps most importantly, the lone caravan with a story to tell..'

I thoroughly enjoyed reading Squashed Possums. The quirky angle of Jon Tindale's New Zealand sojourn being primarily narrated by the caravan home in which he stayed worked well for me and I was frequently reminded of my own caravan-dwelling months, due to restart in just a few weeks! I have never pitched up anywhere as remote as Tindale did, but am now inspired to do so and loved the descriptions of wide-open wilderness and solitude. References to a slow speed of life and mindful tranquillity were both familiar and, in their heightened New Zealand intensity, very appealing.

The caravan's chapters are interspersed with diary entries which does result in some repetition, but also enables a wide range of subjects to be naturally covered without Squashed Possums ever feeling like a lecture. I was interested to learn about New Zealand's history and post-Great War changes, and to read descriptions of its unique wildlife, climate and expansive undeveloped landscapes. Discussions of Kiwi and Maori ingenuity and the idea of the solitary life heritage are fascinating.

Squashed Possums is an inspiring read for all wandering travellers, whether they do so in real life or vicariously from armchairs. I am now envious of Tindale's adventure and sorely tempted to book my own ticket to New Zealand. I think I would want to take my own caravan though - the heater works!

Etsy Find!
by Antheas Arts And Crafts in
Nottingham, England

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Books by Jonathan Tindale / Travel books / Books from England

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