A Runner's Guide to Rakiura : A Novel - Jessica Howland Kany

A Runner's Guide to Rakiura : A Novel - Jessica Howland Kany

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"A Millennial New Yorker, a Stewart Island fisherman, and a WW II veteran walk into a bar...”

Maudie’s on the run – from New York and from her past – but she runs headlong into her future when she ends up on Rakiura Stewart Island on assignment to cover Aotearoa New Zealand’s southernmost running trails.  Or, as her new fisherman friend Vil puts it: “Giving brainless bucket-listers hard-ons for islands like mine.”  She quickly becomes absorbed into island life and once she hears tales of buried treasure, Maudie embarks on a dogged pursuit of the truth, increasingly hooked by gossipy hints.  Clues and waypoints are buried in old SINs (Stewart Island News) and pieces of the puzzle are scrawled on buoys washed up on the pages. 

Maudie doesn’t cut a convincing detective figure.  She’s an erratic, impulsive, semi-alcoholic millennial, but nothing breaks her stride as she wades into the world of laconic locals and dune grass politics.  Like a daydreaming runner, the narrative weaves, loops, and backtracks, taking in pāua divers, whales, yellow-eyed penguins, muttonbirds, floating libraries and Sunday pub quizzers. 

Welcome to a tale of romance, adventure, and a treasure hunt which will take you through decades and landscapes, from the beaches of Rakiura Stewart Island to the battlefield of Monte Cassino, to post-war Paris, to the Twin Towers rebuild. 

Vast and sweeping in scope, this brilliant debut novel is braided with stories of love and war, loss, relationships, island lore, and the joys of running.  A Runner’s Guide to Rakiura is also playful, funny, and romantic, and like any good treasure hunt, there will be reckonings, redemptions, and yes… there will be treasure.



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