Leanne Radojkovich's writing is full of crisp, precise details, and often contain a sting. In Hailman
, the follow-up to her 2017 debut First fox
, the stories still have a dreamy, mythic feel, but are now rooted more firmly in the dusty suburbs and countryside of Aotearoa.
In the title story, a child builds a snowman out of ice with her mum's friend Joyce and skirts round the edge of some adult truths. In 'Growing', a daughter visits her mother in the nursing home and tries to bond with her over flower seeds. In 'Double Dose', Patsy makes a Covid-y journey back to her hometown and touches on unpleasant memories of the past. All the rest home doors have name tags. Mum’s has a typo:
Irina. Although Irena isn’t her born name – only she knows what that is, and she’s never told, never discussed the war. Says she was born the day she reached Wellington harbour with papers stating she was a ten-year-old Polish orphan. Dad said not to ask about the European years, and my brother and I never did. Now they’ve both died and there’s just me and Mum, and she’s in a rest home with a mis-spelled name on her door.