Penguin Random House, NZ
THE TALLY STICK
Named in The Listener Top 100 Books, 2020
Top 10 selling NZ Fiction for six months
Publishers Weekly: Named in Books of the Week, January 17, 2022
“Nixon’s prose is arresting … which generates consistent appeal for the thrilling and emotionally nuanced story. This is electrifying.”
Publishers Weekly, *starred review*
“Nixon’s evocation of physical landscape and its interior counterpart resonate long in the memory.”
Editions de l'Aube, France, 2021
Translation by Benoite Dauvergne
An atmospheric thriller, this is the Kiwi version of outback noir and I couldn't put it down.
“A mesmerising mystery that clings long in the memory.”
“From its first sentences, The Tally Stick by Carl Nixon swept me up and carried me away to a world I never knew and a place I’ve never been: New Zealand’s West Coast, a rough and rugged place where after just five days in the country the Chamberlain family completely disappears. But more than the impeccably described landscape, it’s the complicated moral choices the characters must confront that makes this novel so much more than a gripping story of loss and survival. Richly drawn, intensely atmospheric, and absolutely stunning, I loved this book!”
KAREN DIONNE, author of the #1 international bestseller The Marsh King’s Daughter and The Wicked Sister
Completely compelling … really masterful writing
On Radio NZ
World Editions, UK/ USA, 2022
Culturbooks Germany, 2023
the novel is taut and well-plotted, balancing a mounting sense of dread with unexpected payoffs, and dancing across two parallel storylines….Nixon’s satisfying book suggests that the myriad and sometimes shifting obligations we have to one another, as well as the things that we specifically owe, aren’t mere transactions. Instead, they form the meat and sinew of our relationships, however tangled those relationships may be.
The Tally Stick is an efficient, gripping story, a Kiwi Gothic thriller that is confidently and economically told. It is probably his strongest novel. It would also make a hell of a movie, or better yet, a TV series. Nixon has things to say about adaptation and identity, about family and home, about colonialism and the new rituals and beliefs we might adopt or invent in a new land (the author has a religious studies qualification), but he lets these and other themes glide under the surface like one of his giant eels.
Academy of New Zealand Literature
This is the best kind of novel: complex, contemplative, upsetting, written with an ease and flow that makes it a compelling read.
The writing in The Tally Stick is evocative, you can smell the native bush, see the birds, feel the soggy forest floor. There is much that the reader must fill in for themselves. It is a read full of conflict, violence, and dread, but there is also beauty and kindness, and the switching back and forth gives it an inevitability that puts the characters in the frame of a morality play. I am not going to say anything else about the story – you will have to, and should, read it yourself.
Nelson Public Library
Rapunzel, Hansel and Gretel – there are echoes of any number of stories involving the trope of children who are orphaned or at least temporarily and perilously separated from their parents. Babes in the woods, these abandoned youngsters become a miniature family, struggling to survive with their various impediments.
a very good novel …. a beautiful adventure story … The construction of the plot is particularly effective and pleasant for the reader, it allows the story to advance without being too lengthy and without sinking into the traditional overdone horror scenes.
Benzine (re French Edition)
German Book Club Edition, 2024