The sound of breaking glass

Kirsten Warner This is Kirsten Warner’s first novel – and with an eclectic creative life including journalism (and writing for Ako, go Kirsten!), music and poetry, The Sound of Breaking Glass is jam-packed with ideas, experiences and observations. In the early stages of the book, it’s almost too jam-packed as if a life’s worth of

Read More

Kirsten Warner

This is Kirsten Warner’s first novel – and with an eclectic creative life including journalism (and writing for Ako, go Kirsten!), music
and poetry, The Sound of Breaking Glass is jam-packed with ideas, experiences and observations. In the early stages of the book, it’s almost too jam-packed as if a life’s worth of ideas are competing for space. But as you peel back all the layers they reveal something very special at the heart of this story.

In 1990s Auckland, busy working mum Christel juggles her job as a reality television producer with her activism in Women Against Surplus Plastic (WASP). She has a lovely husband and two lovely children, but her domestic life is presented in a fuzzy, out-offocus way as Christel has so much more going on in her life.

Her present is ultimately less immediate than her past, growing up as a child of Holocaust survivor Conrad (as Warner herself is the child of the late Gunter Warner, a refugee from Nazi Germany and Holocaust survivor).

There’s a magical realism that weaves through the book, including the “Big C” – (for Critic) giving many forms to the voice in Christel’s head and accompanying her on the bus or in the office. Christel’s adolescence and her adulthood are populated with a chorus of archetypes (Karate Man, Upstairs Woman, Fat Controller, et al) who all have an impact on her and who even abuse her and take from her. Despite the hurt they inflict, they lack the emotional resonance of her parents, Conrad and Stella, and their stories. Conrad has lived through things inconceivable to the “she’ll
be right” laconic Kiwi, and buries and excavates these experiences in ways that leave a permanent mark on his daughter Christel.

The Sound of Breaking Glass is at its essence a treatise on pain and trauma, and how it continues to echo through generations. Christel says: “I feel like I’m lacerated on the inside, with loose ends that need mending”.

The novel, despite a surplus of loose ends, does knit them all together to tell a beautiful and affecting story.

– Rebecca Matthews-Heron

Related Posts

Tane Māhuta has a forest

Rebecca Larsen The moment I introduced Tane Māhuta Has a Forest to our tamariki, I had an intrigued audience. They recognised the adventurous characters Pūkeko, Kiwi and Hoiho from Row, row, row your waka, a well-loved CD story at our kindergarten. When the familiar tune of “Old MacDonald” started to play, the tamariki began swaying

Read More

Why is that lake so blue?

Simon Pollard Planning a science or natural history unit? Not sure where to start? This book is for you. Written by Dr Simon Pollard, biologist and award-winning author, this authoritative guide to New Zealand’s natural wonders has a wealth of information and inspiration for busy teachers. Written especially for young New Zealanders, it provides a

Read More

Where’s my jumper?

Nicola Slater This book is good if you have a little sister! We liked the pictures of the different animals, and there is lots to look at and talk about in each page. Marti liked to lift the flaps and the holes you can look through. At first I was worried about the jumper but

Read More

Interesting facts and comprehensive guide to government

Running the Country is a comprehensive guide to the workings of government in New Zealand.

Read More