January 26, 2021

Blowing Feathers

A family memoir:

A memoir in the voice of my mother, Karen Hansen.

It was inspired by diaries and stories written on hundreds of bits of paper found after her death in 2000.

Blowing Feathers is for sale on Amazon, and in Switzerland in the following bookshops.


“I have just finished your really rather astonishing, even shocking, book, and write to congratulate you on an amazing piece of ventriloquism. …You have managed to catch your mother’s anger and madness as well as her acuity of vision and passion for the earth.”
Nicholas Rankin (Journalist, Dead Man’s Chest, Telegram from Guernica)

“New Zealand is Karen Hansen’s birthplace and she got heavily infused in Maori culture with her father’s encouragement. Most of the family were non-violent and pacifists who were appalled by the violence in the world. This account spans seven generations and reads as an important documentary of the times past, in New Zealand and elsewhere. This book is a compelling, if not essential read.”
Trevor Reeves ( Southern Ocean Review, Issue 48, July 12th 2008)

“Congratulations! Huzza! Huzza! … for Blowing Feathers. It is of huge importance to embark and to complete the journey of “telling.” You have done it beautifully… Yes, the act of transformation does require this Herculean telling.
Hannelore Hahn (Founder & Executive Director of International Women’s Writing Guild)

“I read your book with pleasure, excitement, unable to turn the light out at night. It is a memoir of the times, of your mother, and a tribute to you to have put it all together so that it is seamlessly hers. I have no idea how many thousands of bits of paper you rearranged and stitched together, because the flow is natural as though she had written it herself.”
Anna Wirz-Justice (Professor Emeritus, Centre for Chronobiology, Basle, Switzerland)

“I was impressed and moved, and very sorry to come to the end of Blowing Feathers so soon after starting it, and I am still haunted by its bittersweet, distressing perception of the brevity of life, its pervading feeling of guilt and frustration at not being in several places at the same time. This magnificent short-cut of your errant family’s nomadic life propels the reader through the cardinal stages of existence, and illustrates so well the cruel necessity of betrayals and the impossible balance between bonds and detachment, selfishness and generosity that our deepest need for self-fulfilment forces us to strike.”
Philippe Janin, (from a treasured letter written to me by a reader)