2020 Longlist

All This by Chance


2020 Longlist

If we don’t have the past in mind, it is merely history. If we do, it is still part of the present.

Esther’s grandparents first meet at a church dance in London in 1947. Stephen, a shy young Kiwi, has left to practise pharmacy on the other side of the world. Eva has grown up English, with no memory of the Jewish family who sent their little girl to safety. When the couple emigrate, the peace they seek in New Zealand cannot overcome the past they have left behind.

Following the lives of Eva, her daughter Lisa and her granddaughter Esther, All This by Chance is a multigenerational family saga about the legacy of the Holocaust and the burden of secrets never shared.

About the Author

Vincent O’Sullivan is a novelist, playwright and poet. Let the River Stand, won the 1994 Montana NZ Book Award for fiction. His most recent collection of short fiction is The Families. He is a Distinguished Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit and was the New Zealand poet laureate 2013-2015.

Librarian’s Comments

All This by Chance is a subtle, sophisticated and superbly executed work by one of New Zealand’s finest writers. Described loosely as a multi-generational family saga,the author does much more than look at a families history, instead he uses it as a platform to examine how different generations of New Zealander’s view the World beyond its shores and often highlights ironic elements or characters who hold starkly contradictory viewpoints. Wellington City Libraries, New Zealand




Victoria Universtiy Press


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