The Falling Alan Loney cover
The Falling
Alan Loney

All journeys lead to their beginnings

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The Tangiwai rail disaster of Christmas Eve 1953 touched the lives of thousands of New Zealanders. Alan Loney was 13 years old at that time, and the deaths of a schoolboy friend, Robert Hale, and his mother Eileen Hale, have haunted the life and often the writing of the poet for over 45 years.

In trying to understand why this connection was so strong, or what was the real reason this event persisted in the poet’s memory, Alan Loney took a journey into the lives of these two of the 151 who were killed on that fateful night. The interrupted journey of the train takes Alan Loney on a journey into his own unconfronted childhood, to his home town where most of what he knew as a child has been destroyed - the houses where he and Robert lived, the bridge that was a passageway between them, and other places where a childhood with its share of pain, violence and confusion was lived.

All journeys lead to their beginnings. And in searching for the graves of those who have died the author discovers the way to how he has lived, and to how he might live in the future. In standing by the site of the disaster in the dark of night, he has been able to come to terms with the darkness of his own life.

This is a poet’s memoir, written poetically, yet the vividness of its detail is conjured up by a relentless prose that does not flinch in the face of the hard truths that the author has had to accept. It is a book full of extraordinary insight and compassion.

ISBN  1869402502
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