Counter Culture
August 13, 2019 posted by Unity Wellington

Pip Murdoch

Pip Murdoch

Pip Murdoch let us in on the excellent array of books and authors she has been enjoying. Please join us for the launch of Pip’s new book, Relative Strangers: A Mother’s Adoption Memoir (Fern Publishing), 6-7:30pm Thursday 22nd August 2019.


ABOUT THE BOOK

Pip Murdoch offers us a raw and honest account of her personal journey, giving birth and placing her child up for adoption during early seventies New Zealand. Her frank and gritty portrayal is set against a period of rapid social change within a narrow and judgemental environment. Pip gives us intimate descriptions of the challenges she faced. She expresses the fear, shame and trauma of having to part with her baby and demonstrates a tireless determination to make the most of every situation. Her story begins with a girl coming of age in the constricting world of the nineteen sixties, when the sexual revolution overlapped the bigotry and puritanism that were our post-Victorian legacy. The cultural context of the time had a big effect on the choices Pip made and profoundly influenced her life. She gives us an insight into the harsh imposed adoption laws and the impact of institutional processes. Relative Strangers captures the realities of female adolescence, its innocence and excitement, accompanied by new freedoms, with the added ingredients of peer pressure and guilt. The memoir reminds us how far we’ve come in our societal attitudes. Pip then takes up the story twenty years later as she endeavours to search for her son. She takes the reader on a roller coaster ride of disappointment and hope through the process of her adoption reunion.

“Pip Murdoch has written a searingly honest memoir about growing up in the 1960s and what it was like to give up a child for adoption, in the face of limited choices and moral disapproval of unmarried mothers. The search for her son, years after his birth, is a poignant, often heart-breaking account of a search that reads like a page-turning detective story. Anyone who has been touched by the adoption triangle, and there are many of us in New Zealand, will find this a compulsive read, and be touched by its compassionate approach to every aspect of the process and the people involved, whether it be the adoptee, birth parents, or adoptive parents, and the legacy of the practice. Above all, it is an extraordinary and vivid testament to an era.”

– Dame Fiona Kidman


WHAT ARE YOU CURRENTLY READING AND HOW DID YOU DISCOVER THE BOOK(S)?

A Woman of No Importance by Sonia Purcell. Heard Sonia interviewed by Kathryn Ryan on National Radio.

WHO ARE YOUR FAVOURITE WRITERS AND WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT THEM?

Barbara Kingsolver: I love the way her writing has developed and changed and how she writes with such honesty.

Cathleen Schine: Her ability to describe people and their ordinary lives in such a humorous style, has me grinning from cover to cover.

Dame Fiona Kidman: a marvellous NZ author, who is able to tell real stories in such an engaging manner. Her latest book, This Mortal Boy, deservedly won the 2019 Ockham Fiction award. It was well researched and the reader was transported into the time, 1955, and into the attitudes of all those involved.

WHAT BOOKS ARE ON YOUR BEDSIDE TABLE?

Slow Horses – Mick Herron

Becoming – Michelle Obama

The Paris Wife – Paula McLain

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE BOOK-TO-FILM ADAPTATION?

Not a film but a TV adaption of My Brilliant Friend by Elena Ferrante.

WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU RE-READ THE MOST AND WHY?

Fantastic Mr Fox by Roald Dahl, as I still find it exciting and have read it aloud many times to all my grandchildren.

WHO IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY  CHARACTER?

George Smiley.

WHAT BOOK HAVE YOU ALWAYS BEEN MEANING TO READ BUT STILL HAVEN’T GOTTEN AROUND TO?

Jerusalem by Simon Sebag Montefiore.

WHICH THREE WRITERS WOULD YOU HAVE OVER FOR DINNER?

Barbara Kingsolver, Catherine Schine and Margaret Atwood.

WHAT WOULD YOU COOK THEM?

Ceviche, Roast Lamb and homemade ice cream.

HOW ARE YOUR BOOKS SHELVED AND ORGANISED AT HOME?

My bookcases are organised alphabetically by author’s last names.

WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE LITERARY QUOTE?

‘Memory is a complicated relative to truth, but not its twin’, by Barbara Kingsolver.

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