Isolated on bleak farms or in soul-destroying boarding houses, the women are at the mercy of men’s whims, and no less enshackling, the male control of property. They are always one slip away from total poverty. They must reach deep down through their instincts to do what it takes to survive – or else succumb.
Each story is complete and satisfying in itself, and yet -like life – they are also connected by events or characters, so that the stories towards the end satisfyingly close the circle of themes. The last story, by Shelly Davies of the Ngātiwai tribe, adds a Maori viewpoint of these arrivals.
I enjoyed Rebecca Burns previous collection, Catching the Barramundi and found The Settling Earth to be a fascinating perspective into the past of frontier New Zealand.