Author(s): Tina Shaw
"We were probably doomed from the moment the virus hit the airports..." - from the opening chapter of an insanely prescient new novel by Tina Shaw, written before the Covid-19 crisis.
After an international meltdown, New Zealand, along with the rest of the world, has shut down. No electricity, no broadband, and people are in survival mode - at least until somebody turns the lights on again.
Ruth has always led a sheltered life. Pre-Crash, she worked as an Ephemera Librarian, now she is managing a simple, self-sufficient lifestyle. But her sister is dying from tuberculosis and her love for Juliana propels Ruth to undertake a perilous journey.
She intrepidly sets off from Auckland to find the man known as Nelson and his rumoured stockpile of pharmaceutical drugs. Word has it he is based at the old Huka Lodge. Along with the handsome Lance Hinckley and enigmatic Adebowale Ackers, Ruth travels by steamboat up the Waikato River - the only practical way. The group journeys through settlements that have sprung up along the river as people try to re-establish their lives in this precarious time. With society itself broken, will Ruth manage to keep her commitment to her sister without compromising her own values?
Inspired by Joseph Conrad's Heart of Darkness, this post-apocalyptic, partly comedic novel reveals that things are not always what they seem.
Winner of Tessa Duder Award for Unpublished Manuscript 2018. Short-listed for Ngaio Marsh Awards 2015.
"Shaw's near-future New Zealand is all too recognisable, and her story both unsettles and thrills. Ephemera is not only a page-turner; it's a book that makes us question what we value - what we discard, and what remains to us." - Catherine Chidgey, author of The Wish Child
Tina Shaw is the author of more than 20 publications for children, young adults and general readership, including The Black Madonna, written while she held the CNZ Berlin Writers' Residency, and The Children's Pond, shortlisted for the 2015 Ngaio Marsh Awards. Her YA title About Griffen's Heart was a Storylines Notable Book in 2010. She won the 2018 Storylines Tessa Duder Award for an Unpublished Manuscript. Ursa was published in April 2019 by Walker Books Australia.