Elizabeth Knox’s The Absolute Book Wry and Precise
New Zealand author Elizabeth Knox’s 2019 novel, The Absolute Book, is reviewed alongside UK-based Everina Maxwell’s Winter’s Orbit, by Canadian writer Amal El-Mohtar for The New York Times.
“Here are two novels that are, in some ways, opposites: one by an author who’s been publishing celebrated work for 40 years, and one a debut; one that blends numerous genres with a skilful and inquiring hand, and one that glories in modelling a single genre by hitting every one of its notes. Between them they contrast the pleasures of surprise with those of satisfied expectations,” El-Mohtar writes for the paper.
“Reading [The Absolute Book] is like holding folds of shot silk to the light, finding green flash in something that looks purple, and appreciating how thoughtfully the warp and weft embrace each other.
“I’m in awe of it, ultimately, its precision and care, and its wry, understated humour.”
Knox, 61, was made a Companion of the New Zealand Order of Merit, for services to literature, in the 2020 Queen’s Birthday Honours.
Original article by Amal El-Mohtar, The New York Times, January 29, 2021.