Review: The Demolition of the Century

21:58, Mar 11 2014
Duncan Sarkies
Duncan Sarkies: Not above hitting his reader from behind.


The Demolition of the Century - readings from his novel by Duncan Sarkies (NZ)

Hannah Playhouse, March 11

Public book readings can be interesting, although not necessarily always entertaining. This, however, can't be said of Duncan Sarkies reading extracts from his new novel The Demolition of the Century. 

Sarkies is a well-known New Zealand playwright, screenwriter, novelist and short story writer; he co-wrote with his brother Robert the screenplay of the highly successful film Scarfies and his first novel, the darkly comic Two Little Boys, has also been made into a film. 

He has also tried his hand at stand-up comedy, and the rhythm and energy of performance has been described as an important aspect of his writing style.


This was very evident in The Demolition of the Century, where Sarkies was joined by musician Joe Blossom for a highly entertaining hour of animated readings and music.

Sarkies' new novel concerns Tom Spotswood, an insurance investigator who has lost his socks, his suitcase, his career, his ex-wife and his son Frank.

Numerous characters enter Tom's life in his quest to find these lost items, and it is to some of these characters that Sarkies introduces his audience.

While one would have to read the whole novel to see where each fitted into the story, they nevertheless provided Sarkies with a great opportunity to give animated and expressive voice to his writing style, and to show its subtle and understated humour.

Although not always that audible, Sean O'Brien akak Joe Blossom provided interesting interludes of music that Sarkies said he listened to while writing his novel. Adding to the entertainment was the creative way Sarkies and Blossom used the stage, littered with props and musical instruments.

Sarkies and Blossom are performing in Lower Hutt, Masterton and Paekakariki and should sell out all three.

The Dominion Post