In August 1905 a party of young men took ship for England. Among them: four farmers, two bootmakers and a boatbuilder. Bunny and Fats, Bubs and Massa and all the Georges and Billys. They set out from Auckland, never dreaming they would conquer the world. They were bound for fame.
The first game, in Devon, ‘played in golden farmlight: a surprising victory’. By December they were the ‘wonderful All Blacks’ who had beaten Yorkshire (40-nil), England (15-nil) and Ireland (15-nil). Englishmen stopped them in the streets. ‘Mr Gallaher. Mr Gallaher, sir. How does it feel to be famous?’ ‘The pyramids are famous, son.’ They were a tribe far from home, weary, bedazzled, a little lost—but the world showed them wonders.
The world came to look at them, and they looked back: the Eiffel Tower, snow on Tierra del Fuego, English lords, Consommé Sarah Bernhardt. America! But years later, it was something else that remained indelible. A feeling shared, grave and simple, that survived all the acclaim.
Winner of the Tasmania Prize for fiction
Winner of the Deutz Medal for fiction
In this singular melding of history and imagination, Lloyd Jones has created a work of great beauty and purity—a journey from innocence to celebrity; a story of loss and return.