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Title: Introduction: Marvellous Codes
Contributor(s): Hale, Elizabeth  (author)orcid 
Publication Date: 2005
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Abstract: When I was about eight years old, Margaret Mahy gave a reading of her book 'The Wind Between the Stars' in the library of my Dunedin primary school. I remember being slightly disconcerted by that reading: perhaps, at that time, my idea of an author was of someone in tweeds and twinset, instead of a rainbow-coloured fright wig. I was certainly unsettled by the book, in which the wind was far wilder and more unruly than I wished to imagine. Unsettlement gave way to exhilaration when, aged fourteen, I bought 'The Changeover', recently published in hardback. It was one of the first books I had bought with my own money; I was drawn to it because I had read others of Mahy's books, because it was widely celebrated, and because it was such a beautifully produced object: not only was the cover designed by Bruce Hogarth tantalising, but its pages were a smooth, gleaming white, and were bound firmly into its dark cover. I remember sniffing the pages, seduced by the whiff of printer's ink, before reading it. And the story certainly struck close to home: 'The Changeover' was one of the first good books I read to be frank about teenage sexuality, and one of the few to do so in a way that did not rob it of mystery or magic. And though I tended to prefer to read about places where I did not live, I enjoyed Mahy's magical defamiliarisation of Christchurch (a city I had visited often on family holidays). But my strongest memory of reading 'The Changeover' is of beginning it, of recognising that Mahy's narrative voice was distinctive and exciting, and of feeling slightly apprehensive and exhilarated, the way I often feel when I begin reading a book that I know is going to have its own particular magic.
Publication Type: Book Chapter
Source of Publication: Marvellous Codes: The Fiction of Margaret Mahy, p. 7-20
Publisher: Victoria University Press
Place of Publication: Wellington, New Zealand
ISBN: 0864735162
Field of Research (FOR): 200502 Australian Literature (excl Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Literature)
HERDC Category Description: B1 Chapter in a Scholarly Book
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Appears in Collections:Book Chapter
School of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences

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