Author(s): Vincent O'Sullivan
John Mulgan was part of a gifted yet uneasy group of young New Zealanders who madetheir mark between the wars – men such as Ian Milner, James Bertram, Dan Davin and Geoffrey Cox. An Oxford graduate, he worked as a publisher at Oxford University Press before leaving for the front in World War Two.Fascinated but sometimes troubled by his home country, Mulgan saw New Zealandas a place of challenge and austere demands, a land that produced men more practicalthan cultivated. In his famous novel Man Alone, he depicted it as a tough, often heartlesscountry, characterised by the solitary fgure who has come to symbolise the male NewZealand psyche. He wrote more warmly of the place and the people in his poignant memoir, Report on Experience , published after his death. Mulgan was a glamorous fgure: handsome, gifted and good at anything he attempted.His last years were spent fghting in the Allied cause in Egypt and Greece, where he distinguished himself. But there were darker threads, too, which culminated in his decision to take his own life in Cairo, just after the end of the war and aged only thirty-three.In this penetrating biography, Vincent O’Sullivan draws on a large collection of personalpapers, offcial records and contemporary memoirs to paint a vivid portrait of a man who came to represent so much about his country and his time.
Vincent O’Sullivan has written a book more powerful and more moving than anything in ourbiographical literature. Michael King, NZ Herald, 2003.
Vincent O’Sullivan is one of New Zealand’s leading writers, acclaimed for hispoetry and short stories, along with the novels Let the River Stand and Believers to the Bright Coast.
Honoured by many awards and distinctions, he is also highly regarded as aplaywright and critic, and for his superb scholarship as co-editor of The Collected Letters of Katherine Mansfeld. Until recently, Vincent O’Sullivan taught at Victoria University.
Chapter 1 'It's a fne, free country' -- Chapter 2 'Not a bad little town' -- Chapter 3 'There's only one Oxford' -- Chapter 4 - 'What a game ... ' -- Chapter 5 'Life's so damn transitory' -- Chapter 6 'A desert of realism' -- Chapter 7 A life 'I'd not like to have missed' -- Chapter 8 'Cairo by nightfall' -- Postscript -- Mulgan's Publications.