Friends since childhood, Norman and Lyn grow up as next-door neighbours in Herne Bay at the turn of the twentieth century. When Lyn is sent to manage a central North Island timber mill at the tender age of fourteen, Norman goes to visit him. There he is forced to confront a mysterious adult truth. Later, in their twenties, the two men commit an act so appalling that it ruptures their friendship for many years. In 1972 the elderly Norman meets a young woman in a pub. Burdened by the memory he must at long last assuage, he presses Bronwyn into becoming his unwilling confessor. Swimmers' Rope is a powerful novel about friendship, guilt and sex and our changing notions of loyalty and culpability. 'Johnson's writing is skilful, insightful, witty and she has a truly light touch.' - Margie Thomson, The New Zealand Herald 'Immensely satisfying, utterly believable, Music From A Distant Room is Stephanie Johnson in top form. She has written the year to date's best New Zealand novel' - Warwick Roger, North and South 'John Tomb's Head is a thought-provoking work, continually surprising, with many brilliant moments' - Iain Sharp, Sunday Star Times First published November 2008, Auckland, NZ
Stephanie Johnson is the author of two collections of poetry, The Bleeding Ballerina and Moody Bitch; three collections of short stories, The Glass Whittler, All the Tenderness Left in the World and Drowned Sprat; and seven novels: Crimes of Neglect, The Heart's Wild Surf, The Whistler, Belief, The Shag Incident, Music from a Distant Room, and John Tomb's Head. The Shag Incident won the Montana Medal for Fiction in 2002. Stephanie has won the Bruce Mason Playwrights Award and Katherine Mansfield Fellowship. Many of her novels have been published in Australia, America and the United Kingdom.