From the afterword: “‘Lifeblood’, with its mean-spirited prejudice towards immigrants, pits one marginalised group against another in grim-dark tale of poverty and desperation. Information about the 1898 Kauri Gum Industry Act and the government’s monstrous persecution of immigrant and native labour can be accessed on New Zealand’s national archives.”
by Lee Murray
Nikola Silich drove his gum-spear into the ground and let it stand upright while he bent to lift the clod from the ditch. Crouched in the trench, he weighed the blackened lump in his hand, then rubbed at it with his thumbnail. What would he find beneath the grunge? Would there be a droplet of the kauri’s lifeblood, a golden bead of tree-sap petrified for years and years beneath the soil and turned as dark and rich as good wine?
His heart skipped and he breathed deep, his nostrils filling with the smoke of burning manuka bushes. In his head, he whispered, Please, let it be good. (Continue Reading…)