The inexact science of Fredericka

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  • Published 20101025
  • ISBN: 9781921656187
  • Extent: 264 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm), eBook

MY NAME IS Fredericka. Every night, I find myself in the same room. Thankfully, it is coloured to my taste: black wallpaper, and the glow of a red light bulb. It is too dark to read, but I like the ambience.

I light raspberry-rose incense. The smoke drifts carbon smudges across the curtains. I eat chocolate-covered Turkish delight, and squash the dark-red jelly equally with both of my fingers. Once, a man mistook me for a Turkish girl, but I am Maori. If I look in the mirror to check that everything is in place, I will see a girl with black teeth, two of which are missing, and a monobrow. She will be wearing a black T-shirt dress, and up her arms she will have red roses with dark shadowing tattooed into her skin. Roses are for remembrance. She must remember to check, count and sort. She will have her sisters′ names tattooed there too: one on each shoulder. My sisters and I used to be so pretty. I am not pretty now. The reverse.

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About the author

Alice Tawhai

Alice Tawhai is the author of the acclaimed short-story collections Festival of Miracles (2005) and Luminous(2007), both published by Huia.She lives in New Zealand.

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