The White Bird and Other Stories

By Anthony Holcroft

Hazard Press: Christchurch NZ, 1995

ISBN 090879083X

In this startling collection of stories, Anthony Holcroft interweaves the unexplainable with the everyday, creating worlds where the supernatural stirs with the slightest provocation.


The Tarn
The White Bird
The Children at the Swimming Hole
The Tale of Young Hob
Miss Van Leeuwen
The Chrysanthemum

Reader comment

“Uncertainly, on the edge of vision, there is a light that may — or may not — be flickering on the path through the bush. It may — or may not — be something supernatural. A ghost. That white bird that flutters from the kahikatea tree may — or may not — be a spirit, like the ones Maori legends speak of … The seven strange short stories that make up this little volume all ask to be read in this tentative way ... Reading these stories is a little like seeing the sun go down in a narrow bushland valley. The warmth goes out of the landscape and a sudden chill takes over as familiar things fade … Reading The White Bird, I repeatedly thought of those English ghost stories of the Edwardian era. Oliver Onion’s Widdershins, say, or Walter de la Mare in his more faerie moods. By which, of course, I intend the highest praise.”

George Moore, Sunday Star Times (9 June 1996)

The White Bird is a new collection of supernatural short stories by skilled New Zealand writer, Anthony Holcroft. This is not the gruesome Stephen King genre but a subtle, genuinely haunting style ... The strength of this collection is Holcroft’s descriptive writing. He uses familiar New Zealand settings of farm, bush and mountains that lend themselves well to unseen forces.”

Raymond Huber, Otago Daily Times (10 October 1995)