I tried to persuade my partner to review Barry Crump Collected Stories but I came up against a brick wall.
“No thanks. I already read some of some of his books when I was thirteen so I don’t need to read them again”
So what did you think of them? I asked
‘Oh they were good adventure stories.” he said (end of conversation and back to Sudoku)
I never read any of them in the sixties when they first came out. Crump was not on our reading lists at secondary school or University as he was not well regarded by the literary establishment even though he was exceedingly popular and prolific. Over a million of his 24 books were sold during his lifetime. He was eventually awarded an MBE and OBE for services to literature (which Crump apparently reckoned would be a hard case pinned to his Swandri.)
Some years ago a friend of ours, who was a teacher and bookworm herself, had a partner who she couldn’t interest in reading any books at all until she handed him one of Barry Crump’s books and from them he was hooked on reading!
Had I missed out? I turned to Wild Pork and Watercress one of the five classic yarns in Barry Crump Collected Stories because one of my favourite New Zealand movies ‘Hunt for the Wilderpeople’ was based on it. Crump’s tale about Uncle Hec and his nephew Ricky who flee into the New Zealand bush to avoid being caught by the police is a great survival story and I thought Crump captured the prickly relationship between Uncle Hec and his nephew really well.
I went on to read ‘A Good Keen Man”, the fictional story Crump wrote about his experiences during his deer-culling days. Although stories about possum trapping deer culling and wild pig hunters will never be my kind of genre it is another good yarn told with a blokey sense of humour.
Almost all of Crump’s books are no longer in print. So this new volume of his collected stories remedies that by presenting five of his classic yarns in a single edition.
It would make a good Christmas present for anyone in your life who is keen on the rugged outdoors.
Barry Crump Collected Stories by Barry Crump. Publisher” Potton and Burton. RRP $49.99
Reviews by Lyn Potter
Parent and grandparent, Avid traveller, writer & passionate home cook