No Relation by Thomas Pors Koed


Thomas Pors Koed’s collection of short stories, No Relation, is a surprisingly ‘un-Kiwi’ book by a writer who has spent close to the last fifty years residing in Nelson. Koed’s stories wrestle with the constructs of character, identity, what is real and what must be intuited from information not provided. Coupled with elegant precise prose, an obsession with word and image, these short pieces comprise a unique addition to Kiwi lit.

There is a child, the same age as Leif perhaps, but so different, so thin, so pale. The skin is so pale I can see the veins, the arteries, written like two words, one red, one blue, on the forehead. The eyelids are stretched over the balls in their deep sockets. Do they twitch? The upper lip, the philtrum, is strangely pointed, protruding like a little soft beak over the underlip. The lips are dry, the breath, hardly a breath, like breath between two sheets of paper. But where has this child been? The skin is powdered with dry earth, the hair, hair that looks like it has never been cut, is full of earth, black dirt in the golden hair, hair pale like a lightless flower (could there be such a thing?). There is earth on the pillow, on the duvet, on the sheet. Quite a lot of it. The bed perhaps is full of earth, earth and this strange child, this stranger.


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