Equinoctial Gales is set in Wellington, New Zealand in 1939. The story spans the six weeks between the Spring Equinox and Guy Fawkes day in the suburb of Kelburn. It portrays a neighbourhood of people who, like the plants in their gardens on the steep hills and against the wind, are each struggling to become established in some way. More
This story tells of people struggling to become established, like the plants in their gardens on steep Wellington hillsides. Plants and people alike are battered by winds from all directions. At the spring equinox of 1939 an unexplained death in the suburb of Kelburn connects their separate lives. Wellington’s weather (based on weather reports of the days involved) plays a minor role in the story. It colours the backgrounds to their daily lives in which its changing moods cannot be ignored.
Some of these people turn out to be not as they first seem. Their public faces mask unhealed wounds from their earlier lives. The ensuing weeks of spring bring new trials in their efforts to settle the lives of themselves and their families.
Although the characters and their individual stories are fictitious, some are loosely based on actual people of the time, 1939 in Wellington, New Zealand, and the way they led their lives. Like people anywhere, their characters are complex and unique. They include a policeman, a piano teacher, a lawyer, a fashion designer, a struggling greengrocer, a Chinese accountant, a refugee musician and two old women who are settled with a well-established garden.
As summer days approach, the interweaving stories of their lives unfold, secrets are disclosed and problems are resolved. The looming war has little significance to some, others can hear the drums all too clearly. The story ends with fireworks in Kelburn backyards on Guy Fawkes night, symbolising promises of happiness and significant changes in their lives.
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