Every Sign of Life: On Family Ground

Gresson, Nicholas Lyon


1 in stock

1 in stock

Respectable families hold on to their myths, contain the violence, uphold the Establishment. There was always going to be a story. It couldn’t be overlooked, and this one will set the skeletons rattling and the gin bottles clinking up and down the country. The story is exposed through the life and times of Christchurch-born Nicholas Lyon Gresson, enlivened by his passion for justice and love of discovery at the human interface. Overall it is a story of survival.
Wide in scope, this memoir is a New Zealand social history with first-hand accounts of crime and justice, psychiatry and poetry, community and family. It is a saga of five generations of the well-known Gresson family giving an authentic context to the life of the author’s father, Justice Terence A. Gresson, who was appointed to the Supreme Court judiciary in 1956 at forty-two and died by suicide at fifty-three. His forebear Henry Barnes Gresson emigrated from Irish soil in the 1850s and became first resident judge of Canterbury. Justice Sir Kenneth Gresson became president of the Court of Appeal, and another great-uncle, Justice Sir John Edward Denniston, was knighted for services to the judiciary. Unforgettable characters from all walks of life claim an authentic place with their idiosyncrasies and inclinations. Anecdotes, letters and diaries provide insights into Canterbury’s founding fabric and inherited values.
Where was the author in all this? He sought a life beyond the gentry accoutrements of Fendalton Christchurch, pursuing challenges abroad, learning first-hand the vagaries of survival on foreign shores. But there is always a price to be paid for desertion. Following his father’s tragic death Nick endured the greatest of trials. The reader is left gasping as events unfold.
Not without humour the book is illuminating in its narrative style. The author adroitly carries the power of storytelling from one point of impact to the next, including public work for justice and advocacy for those who suffer injustice. This comprehensive exploration of a life on a road less travelled, peppered with poetic writings, confronts the reader with tender and brutal honesty, sustaining an irresistible momentum to the final pages – all this reverberating upon a rich setting of family ground.

Format: Hardback
Pages: 776
Imprint: Quentin Wilson Publishing
Publication date: 24/10/2022

ISBN: 9780995143777 Category: