Dark Night in Canberra

FICTION with IAN McFARLANE

6 November 2011

(c) 2011 The Canberra Times

Dark Night: Walking with McCahon. By Martin Edmond. Auckland University Press. 189pp. $34.99.

Strictly speaking, this fascinating book is more accurately creative non-fiction, but since its library classification mentions fiction, a brief notice here is defensible. Colin McCahon was a celebrated New Zealand artist, troubled by alcohol and Christianity, who may have swapped religion for art. One night in 1984, with a major retrospective of his paintings about to open in Sydney, he disappeared and was found next morning in Centennial Park, with no memory of how he got there. He died three years later, aged 67. Fellow Kiwi Martin Edmond imagines McCahon’s lost journey as a version of Christ’s Stations of the Cross, providing an affectionately intimate slant on the artist’s work.

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