Necessary Secrets

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"They were inextricably bound together, a disparate little family with a black hole of secrets at their centre, a centripetal force-field pulling them powerfully into the same orbit."

Dennis Sparks is turning 70 and, armed with a snub-nosed Walther PPK, he’s contemplating his mortality. Gathered at his Herne Bay home are Den’s three adult children – Will, Ellie and Stan. Before the night is out the house will be razed to the ground.

Spanning the seasons, ranging from Herne Bay to Golden Bay, the novel is told in four parts, each one from the point of view of a different family member. As the year unfolds, so do the secrets. Serious secrets: arson, infidelity, addiction and murder.

A dark, funny examination of modern family life in New Zealand, Greg McGee’s latest novel, Necessary Secrets, both delights and shocks as it pulls focus on diverse fragments of contemporary NZ.

Written by Greg McGee

Sound like your sort of book? Click here to read an extract


Praise for Necessary Secrets

"A pacy and urgent examination of modern family life in New Zealand."
NZ Herald (read an interview with Greg McGee here)

"The book is tautly paced and elegantly structured."
North & South

"There is so much savage beauty, power and clarity in its pages you put it down gasping for air."
Tom Scott

"Necessary Secrets is an intimate yet stark story which focuses on societal issues that New Zealanders face every day, and it handles them with upfront honesty. It is a beautiful yet hard-hitting novel."
The Reader — Booksellers NZ Blog  by Susanna Elliffe

"Greg McGee’s new novel Necessary Secrets is a dissection of a year in the life of a New Zealand family in conflict. It is a triumph of writerly skill, with universal relevance . . . Necessary Secrets is a very rich work. McGee provides a perspective on both our time, our recent past, and the possibilities of the future that few other New Zealand writers can manage. The easy density of the novel maps the instantly recognisable fault-lines of a fractured society. McGee’s characters are as familiar as our own mirror images."
Sunday Star Times – David Herkt

"McGee is a fine writer who isn’t afraid to let his anger out on the page, muzzled only by a blackly comedic touch . . . Suffice it to say there’s a rug, and McGee yanks it out from under you."
The Spinoff – Catherine Robertson


Publication date: 11 April 2019
ISBN: 978-1-988516-63-9
Category: NZ Fiction
NZ RRP: $37.99
Format: PB, 234 x 153mm (portrait), 304 pages