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The Last Days of the National Costume

The Last Days of the National Costume You d think that mending clothes would be an uneventful uncomplicated occupation No drama no unnecessary explanations no personal involvement But people love to talk and as they make their excuses

  • Title: The Last Days of the National Costume
  • Author: AnneKennedy
  • ISBN: 9781743313862
  • Page: 423
  • Format: Paperback
  • You d think that mending clothes would be an uneventful, uncomplicated occupation No drama, no unnecessary explanations, no personal involvement But people love to talk, and as they make their excuses to GoGo Sligo, of Megan Sligo Mending and Alterations, they reveal the holes in their stories as well It doesn t take long for GoGo to get to the truth behind the rips andYou d think that mending clothes would be an uneventful, uncomplicated occupation No drama, no unnecessary explanations, no personal involvement But people love to talk, and as they make their excuses to GoGo Sligo, of Megan Sligo Mending and Alterations, they reveal the holes in their stories as well It doesn t take long for GoGo to get to the truth behind the rips and tears they ve brought her to fix As GoGo listens and sews, she realises she is also helping her clients cheat and lie to their husbands and wives She s covering their tracks so they won t be found out A five week blackout brings the city to its knees, and a drama to her doorstep A lover, a wife, and finally the cheating husband all come to claim a vintage Irish costume that GoGo s been mending She doesn t want to like the guilty husband, but can t resist being drawn into the enticing web of his deceit, and then into his story of heartbreak and death on the streets of Belfast To keep him coming back to the blacked out house and to prolong the telling of his family s story, GoGo pretends the costume isn t finished As she makes him return to her, day after day, it becomes clear that another kind of spell is being woven, and GoGo must face the truth about herself and her own life and marriage An intoxicating, entrancing, gripping novel of illicit love, passion and embroidery, told in an inimitable voice by a brilliant new talent.

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      Posted by:AnneKennedy
      Published :2018-07-04T12:52:30+00:00

    1 thought on “The Last Days of the National Costume

    1. Book gifted by The Reading Room for reviewMegan is a mender of clothes, she knows the secrets behind the clothes, what each rip, tear and burn mark represents. The people that bring their clothes to Gogo Sligo's Mending and Alterations to be fixed are the result of passion and sometimes dangerous affairs. Most clients confess their sins to Megan as if handing over their damaged garments they have to make some kind of confession. Megan is a keeper of secrets, but when an Irish costume comes to he [...]

    2. Anne Kennedy's novel The Last Days of National Costume is a great combination of charm and humour due mostly to the central character and narrator. Megan Sligo tells of her contented life living in Auckland with her husband Art as a garment mender and alterer. She talks to the reader directly in second person of a chaotic 5 week period when the city was going through a blackout and her life dramatically changed.In this time a male client will come to her wanting a dress to be repaired. While she [...]

    3. I really wanted to like this book. The concept of a seamstress being able to see the real story behind a ripped pair of pants or torn jacket from her clients can go so many interesting ways. But the book was written terribly and was boring most of the way through. I skipped to the end to see if the final chapters redeemed themselves, but they unfortunately fell flat. So much potential that was never fully realized.

    4. I so wanted to like this. Firstly it is written by an NZ author and set in the city I live in - so definitely got to show support for that. Secondly, it has an historical element to it, and features story telling; thirdly, it focuses on hand craft, the pleasure that can be derived from working with one's hands. However, it was far too long, and as a result got bogged down in all sorts of stuff that just got more and more complicated. I really was quite over it by the last page, finding it all qu [...]

    5. I enjoyed this book. The writing was brilliant, and often times funny. I did spend some time with a dictionary looking up some of the unusual words! The theme was unique and interesting, because essentially the book was about a national Irish costume which had made its way to New Zealand to a mender's shop. The dress was the centrepiece to the story, around which we learned about the life of its owner, and the mender who contracted to repair it. The wind-down to the end I found a bit strange, an [...]

    6. An enjoyable read full of sewing, history and relationships. I was hooked from the start and loved the story unfolding - well written, interesting and memorable. Reading this towards the end of the year I wanted a novel to sustain me and entertain me but not demand anything and that's just what I got.At times the tone of the historical part of the story reminded me of Stephen Eldrid-Griggs' Oracles and Miracles - an incredibly memorable story of early Christchurch that I loved when I read it at [...]

    7. I wanted to like it and persisted til the end because it was my book club book. Probably well written, but the story itself was just too ridiculous and essentially unbelievable. It had a love it or get your money back sticker - if I could be bothered I'd get my money back!

    8. On the cover there is a sticker "read it. Love it. Or your money back". I started out enjoying this book but then it got tedious, then it would get interesting and then tedious again. Didn't love it, but it was an okay read so wouldn't ask for my money back but also wouldn't recommend it either.

    9. With sometimes up to two pages of description, this book dragged quite a bit for me. I also found the narrator a bit irritating and slightly pathetic. It did pick up towards the end, and the story idea was good. I'm glad I didn't abandon it, but also glad I can now move on to something else.

    10. ‘Can I tell you this. Will you listen?’Megan (`GoGo') Sligo runs her own business (Megan Sligo Mending and Alterations) from the home she shares with her husband Art in Auckland. On 20 February 1998, two separate things happen. First, the power goes out in that part of Auckland - an outage that lasts for five weeks, and secondly, an Irish dancing dress is bought to Megan for repair. The dress is a family heirloom, and three people have an interest in it: Trisha, who bought the dress to Megan [...]

    11. I have to be honest I did struggle initially with this novel as I found early on it was difficult to know what direction this was going. Was our narrator going to discuss the relationship between repairs and infidelities or was this about a power black out?Megan is talking directly to you, it is a one side conversation as you are pretty much listening to a confession. I found Megan to be not overly pleasant I hated being told 'I will tell you more on that later' and I found her butting in to mov [...]

    12. I found myself utter absorbed in this tale which gives a unique spin on two important but sometimes overlooked points in history, the five-week blackout in Auckland in 1998 and the death of Bobby Sands in Belfast in 1981. The story opens with Megan 'GoGo' Siglo, a woman in her late twenties who runs an alteration and mending store in Auckland in the late 1990s. On the same Friday that Auckland finds itself without electricity, an Irish dancing dress is brought to the store. The dress is a family [...]

    13. This had a real sense of place and time, late 1990s Auckland during a 5 week long power cut. The characters were well written and realised as they slowly develop and unfold in the story. The idea of clothes having secrets, especially those that needed mending, fascinated me. The triangle that develops over the blackout becomes both tense and fragile. I really enjoyed the descriptions of the house, GoGo mending by the sunlight as the power has gone and the world outside her gate of Newton Gully.A [...]

    14. This was an unusual story - it took a while for the characters to grow on me, (I spent most of the first half of the book just wanting to shake some sense into Gogo Sligo!) but by the end the writer did a fabulous job of leaving the reader with a sentimental liking for the central protagonists. And, in my case, some thoughtful reflections on the complexities of relationships, in particular marriage, and how people can slide away from themselves and each other, but come through the other side som [...]

    15. As a dressmaker myself, I found her descriptions of what it is like to handle a garment and sew the most realistic that I have ever come across in fiction, there is a real poetry in sewing that those who don't sew, don't understand. Of course, the novel is not just about sewing (or to be more pedantic, mending) it is about how as humans we poke holes in our most intimate relationships . . . and then in a panic want to hide our digressions. If you want a plot summation, read the back cover; but r [...]

    16. I finally finished this book. As some reviews I've read stated, it is an odd, though interesting story. I'm not entirely certain what I liked about it but it was generally satisfying. I did read something pacey at the same time which perhaps highlighted the slower pace?? The sense of time dragging on, as it took the power company so long to restore power to the area in parallel to the amount of time it took me to read it. Nice concept - mending fabric as the narrator's life is unravelling.

    17. For me personally this book was a bit up and down. Fortunately mostly up. I found myself looking forward to a few more chapters in bed each night but there were a couple of things about the writing that really irritated! The overuse of parenthesis was one, and the other was the amount of times GoGo (Megan) repeated a statement or sentence immediately after it was said. It was a little overly cute and trying. But apart from those annoyances I did actually enjoy the story and as I said, looked for [...]

    18. I loved this book! It's witty and wry and I enjoyed the literary and philosophical references - so Pomo (a term a learned from this book). It also included wonderfully grim descriptions of the "troubles" in Ireland and you can almost feel about the atmosphere created by Anne about the Auckland blackouts. I also really enjoyed the academic narrator earning a living as a seamstress and having her customers divulge their secrets to her. Very clever.

    19. I haven't read a great deal of Kiwi fiction but highly recommend Anne Kennedy's 'The Last Days of the National Costume'. The story unfolds over the five weeks in 1998 that central Auckland was without power, and how lives unravel during this time. Kennedy writes extremely engagingly and all of the characters have depth and are likeable. I felt the pace was uneven, though, with so much crammed into the last few chapters.

    20. After two weeks, I was still only 35 pages in. I just couldn't get interested in it. Even when I decided to knuckle down and get through it, after a couple of pages I found myself flicking through to the end to see if things got more interesting. Nope. Great idea, seamstress finding out her customers dirty secrets, the disorientation of a city's blackout, but not the book for me.

    21. Set in Auckland during a power-cut I wasn't really aware of, but which did happen. A pleasant enough read, interesting characters with depth, but unfortunately the story just tailed off and didn't really finish.

    22. Really enjoyed the narrative style of the book. Could not wait to see what happened next so was a could not put it down book for me. The twists that came along the way were unexpected and kept me hooked in till the end . Great read

    23. I loved this book, well written in a unique voice and suspenseful. I had no idea what was going to happen. Covered some good topics too. Highly recommended, particularly to sewers, it has additional appeal.

    24. Can't describe what I thought about this book! Stcker on the front says that if you don't love it you can get your money back - I'll be reading the fine print to see what the catch is!

    25. I thoroughly enjoyed this book set during the blackout in Auckland. I loved knowing exactly where the character was as she went around town and enjoyed the stories of growing up in Belfast too.

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