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A Man Melting: Book review

Reviewed by's Melanie Scott

A man receives emails from Charles Darwin prompting a wild goose chase and midlife crisis, extinct creatures are miraculously returning to the world and a man is literally melting away into water. 

These are just some of the stories from A Man Melting, the debut collection from New Zealand author Craig Cliff.

Evolution is one of the central themes of the collection and most of the stories revolve around characters in the midst of change. Some literal, like the title character of A Man Melting and others face some kind of identity crisis.

Young adults stand on the brink of maturity, coming to terms with their responsibilities; children see glimpses of the adult world for the first time; older adults suddenly realise they're clueless about the world around them.

There's a distinct Kiwi flavour to the collection, most stories are set suburban or small town New Zealand and even the more international stories have characters away from home on their traditionally Kiwi OE's.

Stand out stories include Copies, a young man's poignant and poetic recollections of his late father and The Sceptic's Kid where a boy deals with a world where Moas and Dodos once again roam the earth and his mother is the only one who doesn't believe. 

Disappointingly the book opens with one of the weaker stories but in the later tales Cliff's characters are engaging and relatable and over all it's a solid collection of stories from a talented new author.

Rating: 7/10

A Man Melting by Craig Cliff

Publisher: Random House