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***Slipping into Paradise

Why I Live in New Zealand

by Jeffrey Mousaieff Masson

Reviewed August 24, 2004.
Ballantine Books, New York, 2004.  248 pages.

As my readers know by now, I enjoy books about moving to another culture.  Maybe that’s because I’m so happy living for awhile away from the country of my birth.

This book isn’t the typical one with all sorts of tales of getting along despite the quaint natives with their humorous ways.  This is simply a straightforward account of why, since he moved to New Zealand, Jeffrey Masson feels that he is living in paradise.

Along the way, he gives us a brief history of New Zealand and some stories of its native culture, as well as its native plants and animals.  More interesting is the story of how he came to New Zealand, fell in love with the place and decided to stay.

He gives some interesting thoughts on what makes a place “home” and a personal itinerary for the traveler to New Zealand.  (My favorite part is where he leads you to his own beach and says, “The beach itself is where I live, halfway along the grass-bordered path right along the sea, in the new house with all the books in it—that’s me sitting on my deck reading and writing in the sun; just wave at me, and I will wave back if you hold up this book.”  I would love to do that some day.)

His concluding chapter answers the question “Should You Move to New Zealand?” with the short answer of yes.  I must say that he is amazingly persuasive.  This is a person who truly believes that he has found the most wonderful home on earth.  He includes internet sites and e-mail addresses should you ever be prompted to follow up on the desires he has planted.

Even though such an opportunity will probably never come my way, it was a treat to travel vicariously to New Zealand and learn about a beautiful country through this book.

Copyright © 2004 Sondra Eklund.  All rights reserved.

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