ROCKING HORSE ROAD
Named in the Listener, Top 100 Books of 2007
Named in The Press, Books of the Year 2007
Named in the Christchurch City Library, Top Ten Titles for 2007
Long-listed for the IMPAC Dublin Literary Awards
Die Zeit Newspaper, Best Crime Novels 2012
October: 4th, November: 3rd, December: 5th
Litprom Magazine, Best World Literature List
Winter 2012: 3rd
Bücher Magazine, best crime novels of 2012: 2nd
Random House, NZ. 2007
Weidle Verlag, German. 2012
Translator: Stefan Weidle
btb verlag, German. 2015
Editions de l'Aube, France. 2018
Translation by Benoite Dauvergne
This is a book of illusions, one of those works crafted by a magician, skilled at subtly directing your attention away from the real story until it's too late and you're suddenly given a whole new picture of all that has gone before. Told in a laconic, almost languid way, never missing a beat, nor the opportunity to quietly set you up for what's coming, the book is gripping and forthright…. The book, which started as a short story, never feels forced or stretched. It is detailed and full and written with such attention and verve that it feels that it is the right length
The Press, Christchurch
I enjoyed Carl Nixon's short stories, so dived into this novel eagerly - and it didn't let me down…. Nixon's writing conjures vivid pictures of that place and period, allowing the reader to step back into a familiar New Zealand of 27 years ago. While the timing of the story is a growing and turning point for the boys involved, it is also a similar point for the country as a whole. More than that, as the boys grow into men their fixation on the murder remains. To me the book also hints at a subconscious longing in us all for a time when things seemed simpler and more cohesive.
Intensely atmospheric, it strongly evokes 1980s New Zealand – dairies, summer, the beach, teenage boredom and sexual yearning ... Rocking Horse Road is also a powerful exploration of maleness, and of grief and the impossibility of articulating grief. There's a kind of muteness to these characters: when they discover a startling possible clue to the murderer's identity: ‘We looked everywhere but at each other's faces; ; to see written there our own feelings. We were uncertain if men could even speak to each other of such things.'
The Dominion Post
Carl Nixon has skilfully recreated provincial 1980s New Zealand... I hope Nixon writes many more novels.
Herald on Sunday
... Nixon captures well the calculus of suspicion in this type of murder – its circling and descent: the way its mass builds around a man before, with cruel fickleness, it moves on to menace someone else. This, and the parallel he offers between the boys' trapping and killing of a dog and their revenge on a young ‘Don't Stand So Close To Me' teacher, show Nixon to be a writer of talent.
Sunday Star Times
Nixon's teenage voice never loses character, and he has perfectly realised the burning emotion and slightly befuddled sense of discovery of the teenage boys ... it would be a crime if it doesn't make it on to the reading lists for senior English classes throughout the country.
... the whodunit is just a small part of what makes this book such a joy to read.
Australian Women's Weekly
Nixon writes beautifully. He gets the style and timbre of the teenagers just right. He uses their language. Something easy is ‘a piece of piss', A lazy-training member of the 1st XV ‘needs a fire lit under his arse'. Is there anyone who's played rugby at any level in New Zealand who hasn't heard that expression? ...What a pleasure then to read Rocking Horse Road. Carl Nixon has fulfilled the promise he showed with last year's stories, Fish ‘n' Chip Shop Song. He is a major talent and this is a vey good book. You should read it.
Warwick Roger, North and South Magazine
Crown Publishing, Taiwan & Hong Kong. 2016
Transator: Ms Chao Pi-Hui
both chronicle and investigation, sociological fiction and morality tale, Rocking Horse Road is a beautiful impressionist novel.
Christine Ferniot, Telemara Magazine
Carl Nixon tells this story, and that is what is outstanding about it, from a we-perspective: The crime and the efforts to solve it are reported from the boys' perspective - later: the men's - furthermore, the country and its people are characterized, families and relationships are dissected, so that, at the end, a panorama of New Zealand's society over the last two decades evolves. The result: A very distinct and exceptional crime novel, which is brilliantly constructed and passionately narrated.
In Funkhaus Europa
Reviewed by Ulrich Noller
Nixon interprets the classic coming-of-age-motif in a stunning manner. The murder of Lucy Asher marks the end of childhood and keeps on fascinating the protagonists until their midlife. Especially, since it will not be the only act of violence. The search for Lucy's murderer reaches its humiliating climax when the self-appointed detectives attack a wrongly susptected man at his home. By letting this attack happen during the devastation of The Spit by a massive storm flood, Nixon is consistent with the novel's almost too explicit symbolism: Rocking Horse Road turns out to be a project of disillusionment.
In Die Welt
Reviewed by Joachim Feldmann
Carl Nixon wrote a clever, multilayered and extremely thrilling novel, in which we get a lot to know about New Zealand along the way. He does not establish a causally determined connection between the individual crime and the authoritarian conditions during he 1981 Springbok rugby tour but mirrors the one in the other. In a knowledgeable and subtle fashion, he tells us about a few teenagers, in whom the sense of justice and a restrained sensuality are mixed together into a highly explosive brew. And he provides us with an eventful image of a New Zealand suburb which tries to seal itself off from the big world while, at the same time, everything that is happening in this world is reflected in it nonetheless.
At Die Presse.com
by Karl-Markus Gauß
Rocking Horse Road is masterly in every respect: in the seeming simplicity of its tone, which perfectly captures all nuances of insight, lust, and finching away from reality in the process of growing up; in the representation and reminiscence of the living conditions that have been destroyed in the earthquake of 2010; in the text's balance between haunting descriptions of nature and a nerve-wracking portrayal of violent social relations; in the tenderness in which the boys' love for the honoured murder victim grows into an obssesion.
In litprom Magazin print
Reviewed by Tobias Gohlis