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Oct 21, Rachel Gale rated it really liked it. This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers.

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To view it, click here. Dec 18, Natalie Cowie rated it really liked it. It is a neglected New Zealand classic that has been rediscovered for a new audience. The book is a coming of age story with gothic elements and a young adult classic. I have read it twice now and I know that I will read it again as there is so much to absorb in it.

It is unsettling, it is odd and it is unforgettable. Summer has come, and those who can have left the bay for the attractions of the distant and unnamed city.

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When their older cousin, the alluring Caroline comes from the city to stay with the Bairds, Harry is infatuated. Caroline and the boys spend the long summer days exploring the bay and playing games. However, Harry is very protective of Caroline and jealous of the attention she receives from men which is a lot. Once we realise that Harry is an unreliable narrator the story shifts a gear and we start to view his account with some suspicion. Grab it if you can. Harry Baird lives in Calliope Bay, five houses and a shack, and the ruins of the old meat works.

As Harry and his young mates play in the cave, on the wharf and in the works, scar faced old man Sam Phelps looks on, impassive, opinion unknown except perhaps to his perennial companion Sydney Bridge Upside Down, the horse. Harry's mother has gone to the city for an undetermined period, and Harry's beautiful older cousin Catherine arrives in the bay.

Harry is young and confused and sees Catherine as Harry Baird lives in Calliope Bay, five houses and a shack, and the ruins of the old meat works. Harry is young and confused and sees Catherine as part sister, part replacement mother, part object of sexual awakening. Ballantyne throws an array of themes at the reader - the terror of the killing rooms of the defunct works, the joy of boyhood, the ubiquity of domestic violence.

While the children are unrestrained, enjoying fresh air, adventure, fun - the adults are mostly overwhelmed by isolation, which promulgates the tiny settlement like salt soaks the air. Through this the plot is mysterious, and sudden. With the scarred hairy and shady characters, this is a twentieth century country Dickens. Events are not clearly explained.

Although it is now considered a New Zealand classic, if you did not know it was a New Zealand writer, it is not clear that it is even set in New Zealand - all of the place names are invented I think and there is not a single Maori word. Dec 12, Pip Smith rated it really liked it Shelves: nz-literature. One of those books expertly written from the perspective of a likeable, horrible character.

There are some fantastically fluid dream sequences in this book, but other moments where the writing seems rushed particularly at the end.

The last chapter seemed written just before the book was posted to the publisher though, or as an afterthought at least. Not sure what it adds to the whole. Oct 08, Liz rated it it was amazing. I so wish I had a little more background on this book before I tackled it in my series of NZ writers.

Children's Books - Reviews - Upside-Down Harry | BfK No. 98

I wish I was looking for the dark clues and undertones before they emerged. It can be read I imagine on many levels. I will be going back and re-reading it in the next few months for sure. The main characters are so layered and real to life, the lesser ones summed up in a few sentences.

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You can't help but have strong opinions of these people that may change through the book just as in life. This I so wish I had a little more background on this book before I tackled it in my series of NZ writers. This rivals for me books such as Catcher in the Rye and the like. Put it on your book club's Must Reads May 22, Mark rated it really liked it Shelves: owned-as-ebook. An Adelaide Australia radio announcer was "raving" about this book, otherwise I'd never have heard of it.

It's a rather strange story about the events of a summer in an isolated town in New Zealand. It's told from the perspective of a pre-adolescent boy, whose dysfunction is central to the story.


The characters were weird, mysterious and menacing, with a constant undercurrent of deviance and dysfunction. The narrative is gripping and engaging, but it's far from an uplifting read. It's said to An Adelaide Australia radio announcer was "raving" about this book, otherwise I'd never have heard of it. It's said to be New Zealand's greatest novel. I can see why, even though its tone and subject is far from mainstream. I really struggled with this book. I put it down several times and almost gave up completely until some drama was hinted at around page 90, then it was back to droll again until past the halfway mark.

The plot is stilted with huge, unexplained events that barely raise an eyebrow in the small rural setting. The timeline of events jumps around and the narrative just rambles at times. Chapter 13 is one long paragraph and still fails to build the desired tension. I don't understand why this novel I really struggled with this book.

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I don't understand why this novel is considered a NZ classic. Jan 12, Michael Brown rated it it was amazing. Essentially the unpredictable monologue of an adolescent boy in a remote NZ town, half understanding the dodgy adult goings-on around him, this is often funny in a ghastly black comic way. The narrative is very cunning as the story grows progressively more sinister. Ballantyne neatly avoids the pitfalls of over-psychologising the main character, conveying the mysterious perceptions of a youthful troubled mind a certain insight.

Or a decide Essentially the unpredictable monologue of an adolescent boy in a remote NZ town, half understanding the dodgy adult goings-on around him, this is often funny in a ghastly black comic way. Or a decidedly creepy Holden Caulfield from 'Catcher in the Rye'. Yep, this is a good one. Apr 30, Jane rated it it was amazing Shelves: new-zealand.

Wow, what a stunner of a book, first written in and quite rightly noted as a New Zealand classic. Made me wonder if filmmaker Vincent Ward had read it and weaved it's gothic, claustrophobic atmosphere into his movies, especially 'Vigil'. Harry wakes up one morning on his bedroom ceiling! Defying gravity is confusing at first but soon Harry enjoys his topsy-turvy world. But his new life is not without peril. If he isn't careful, he could float away. Convert currency.

Add to Basket. Compare all 5 used copies. Book Description Scholastic Hippo, Condition: Used; Good. Dispatched, from the UK, within 48 hours of ordering. This book is in good condition but will show signs of previous ownership. Damaged cover. The cover of is slightly damaged for instance a torn or bent corner. Aged book. Tanned pages and age spots, however, this will not interfere with reading.

Seller Inventory CHL More information about this seller Contact this seller. Book Description Scholastic Hippo. Keep it. Get another to read, and put this someplace relatively safe. The normal run of HBP is worthless as first editions, which is why I didn't mind that my own copy had bent pages.

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Your copy, on the other hand, will be worth something in a few years. I agree with what everyone's said here about keeping it and selling it later. When you're ready to sell, talk to me. I've done a ton of business on eBay and know some tricks that could help. This assumes, of course, that a we'll still be in touch in 20 years which we will, of course , and b that eBay is still in business doing what it does best. I agree with the others -- it'll probably be worth more later. If you don't mind your personal copy having this quirk, there's no need to buy another copy now it's not like they'll run out later.

If you want to try the "good story leads to sales" approach on eBay now, you could always set a reserve or minimum bid or whatever it is they do. Did you get your copy at a local store?

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If so, have you considered going back to see if there are more copies like yours? I think the answer is clear. That's gotta be worth a few bob. Seriously, I can't believe how many people are voting 'keep it'. Voldy is good. From a "books are actually worth some money" standpoint, it'll be worth more in 20 years. Cursed is good though. I like that. You could come up with a piece of paper with the "curse" on it, and slip it into the book, just 'cause. When I was about 13 years old I was reading a beat-up paperback of The Exorcist and of course, reading it into the wee hours with a flashlight way past bedtime , and I can't remember which section exactly, but I still remember turning the page and see the next one printed upside down, and the next, and the next.

That very scared child finished the book during his daylight hours from then on.