(Giant Sparrow Press, $24.95)
Slight in size, big in imagination and with a wicked sense of humour, this volume taps into a Kiwi gothic vein but complements it with an awareness of popular culture in all its allure and horror. It features a grand cast of misfits and eccentrics, many of them characterised by an unholy innocence.
The first story, "The Pavlova Debacle", is typical of Hill's melding of satire and fantasy rooted in real life. The story will delight anyone who has ever wanted to run screaming from an argument about whether the national dessert of Australia and New Zealand was invented in one or the other country.
In this case, the disagreement leads to a war which lasts years and cannot be resolved even by peace talks on Norfolk Island. And Helen Clark herself can't sort it out.
Eventually, Tony Blair, at the end of his tether, decides that Britain will take both countries back, apparently just to shut them up.
Many of the characters and situations are plain weird - not that there's anything wrong with that. The narrator of "I Won't Be Happy Until I Lose a Leg", for instance, who won't be happy until she loses a leg, believes she feels like George Michael must have before he realised he was gay.
It's a world of narcissists, mediocre musicians, soft-metal music, casual sex, international students who reinforce national stereotypes, literary tours of Dublin and frisbeetarians - people who "believe that when they died, their souls would sail up to the roof and no one could get them back down."
Much of New Zealand literary fiction is humorous. Precious little of it is funny. Hill breaks that mould with conspicuous success.
Reviewed in North & South, August 2014, by Paul Little
Reproduced by kind permission of North & South magazine