I had the pleasure of meeting Gina Cole last year and hearing her speak about her book Black Ice Matter. She was an interesting and compelling speaker, a fact that is reflected in the short stories within this book.
The stories deal with issues that contrast sharply within themselves but are relatable. Cole draws on her Pasifika heritage and her personal experiences to focus a lens on that which captures our world in all its complexity. Tabua is based, partly, during the revolution in Fiji and shows the impact that experience had on people. In contrast, Ice is about drug addiction and the impact this can have not just on the addict but also on their circle of friends and family.
The cover of this book has a quote from Albert Wendt which summarises the work of Gina Cole much better than I can: “A challenging, compelling and engaging new writer”.
I would recommend this book for school libraries and for English Faculties who are looking for new, engaging short texts for seniors to respond to. It is sophisticated, thoughtful writing for young people and adults alike.
An e-book edition is available
Title: Black Ice Matter
Author: Gina Cole
Publisher: Huia Publishers
Date of Publication: 2016
Reviewer: Judith Hartstone, HOF English, James Cook High School, Auckland
How are you recommending this book? Highly recommended
Opening Sentence: ‘Serafina lay dying.”