Author: John Mulgan
Publication date: 01/03/2021
Imprint: VICTORIA UNIVERSITY PRESS
Man Alone is one of the foundation stones of New Zealand literature. Almost all copies of the first edition, published in England in 1939, were destroyed in the Blitz. When it was republished in New Zealand in 1949, after the author’s suicide in Cairo in 1945, the publisher Paul’s Book Arcade made a number of changes for unknown reasons. This edition restores John Mulgan’s original text for the first time.
Johnson, an English WWI veteran, comes to New Zealand to find a new life. In Auckland he is caught up in the Great Depression riots, and heads south to the central North Island, where he work as a farm hand. An affair with his boss’s wife and the accidental killing of his boss cause him to flee across rough hill country, and by the end of the novel he is contemplating leaving the country to fight in the Spanish Civil War.
Man Alone is a portrait of an existential loner, and a testament to the necessity of comradeship in times of hardship.