Wananga landing Wananga landing
CUP book

The Wandering Nature of Us Girls

16 November 2023

By Frankie McMillan 


August 2022
128pp, softback
204 x 130mm
ISBN: 978-1-98-850333-2

In these small stories, Frankie McMillan balances transgression and wit, showing a cast of unmoored characters with her signature warmth and compassion.

Bursts of vivid, poetic writing blur the line between reality and surrealism as she explores all kinds of wandering: children wander, adults drift into unexpected relationships, and footholds can never be certain. Water, too, meanders like a river in the collection, a powerful presence linking disparate lives: the girls raised by swans swim towards what they hope is a better future in the West, a grandmother swims naked in an isolated bush lake, Magdalene’s behaviour on the fishing boat is under scrutiny by her sisters, while the taniwha Kaiwhakaruaki looms over lovers hiding under a wooden dinghy on the beach.

The Wandering Nature of Us Girls cover

In settings as unexpected as a European post-war circus or an inflatable pool in suburban Aotearoa, the enduring bonds of family, real or imagined, take centre stage. Frankie McMillan has given us a collection that is poignant, revelatory and bitter sweet.

Frankie McMillan is the author of five books of poetry and short fiction. Her most recent collection, The Father of Octopus Wrestlingwas listed by The Spinoff as one of the 10 best New Zealand fiction books of 2019 and shortlisted for the NZSA Heritage Book Awards, and her 2016 collection, My Mother and the Hungarians, was longlisted for the Ockham New Zealand Book Awards. She has twice won the New Zealand Flash Fiction Day competition and has been the recipient of numerous awards and residencies, including the NZSA Peter and Dianne Beatson Fellowship (2019), the Michael King writing residency at the University of Auckland (2017), and the Ursula Bethell residency in creative writing at the University of Canterbury (2014). McMillan spends her time between Ōtautahi Christchurch and Mohua Golden Bay.

The Wandering Nature of Us Girls is published with the support of Creative New Zealand

Listen to Frankie McMillan being interviewed by Lynn Freeman on RNZ Standing Room Only

Read reviews of The Wandering Nature of Us Girls in 1964 mountain culture aotearoa magazine and by Paula Green on NZ Poetry Shelf

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