Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: An Unlikely Love Story by Christina Thompson - review by Sara Wheeler

Sara Wheeler

A Maori in Massachussetts

Come on Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All: An Unlikely Love Story


Bloomsbury 272pp £14.99 order from our bookshop

Within the pages of this delightful confection of history and memoir the American editor of the Harvard Review describes what it is like being married to a Maori. (Rather agreeable, as it turns out.) By whisking in a study of Maori history and the received ideas of colonisers, Christina Thompson has cooked up an appetising volume on the complexities, perils and personal consequences of cultural collision.

The author has a strong sense of narrative. She frames her story with Abel Janszoon Tasman, the Dutch trader who, in 1642, caught the first recorded European glimpse of New Zealand, thus ending a thousand years of Maori isolation. Proceeding at a trot through Antipodean history, Thompson drives the story forward with a sequence of vignettes depicting canoes inching silently through clear water while pale faces weigh anchor and storm clouds inevitably gather.

Thompson met her future husband in a bar while on holiday in New Zealand from graduate studies in Australia; she was writing a dissertation on European literature of the Pacific. Nicknamed Seven, he was the seventh of a family of ten from the Bay of Islands, and was working as

Sign Up to our newsletter

Receive free articles, highlights from the archive, news, details of prizes, and much more.

The Incomparible Monsignor

Kafka Drawings

Follow Literary Review on Twitter