In search of their own utopia, a gay couple visiting New Zealand pass a road sign, “PARADISE: NO EXIT,” and decide to immigrate, finding a world of adventure, new wisdom and intimations of mortality.
Official Website of Aaron Allbright
In The Land Near Oz: Two Gay Yankees Move to New Zealand, memoirist and humorist Aaron Allbright examines the mystical fringes of life with a side of love and a little hash. Filled with great affection, indescribable moments of serendipity, and a few cattle calls, this debut is a raucous spot of fun that just goes to prove that paradise has a lot of sheep and the natives spend just as much time getting caught up in a whodunit murder-mystery as they do raising money for the local primary school.
In sixteen lively chapters with titles like “Northern Exposure New Zealand Style,” “The Miss Mangonui Beauty Pageant,” and “Te Ika-A-Maui,” Allbright describes the edge of a life that’s rare. It’s what you see when you follow your dreams and all you ever hoped for explodes into what was meant to be—just not at all what was expected. When Aaron Allbright and his better half, Beau, buy a piece of paradise from the direct descendants of the first English missionaries to inhabit the far side of the Far North of New Zealand, they’ll meet the offspring of whores, convicts, whalers, English pirates, and those first missionaries. Their closest seaside neighbor is Australia at two thousand miles away (known to everyone thereabouts as Oz). From Orange County to the land of cannibals and flightless birds, two gay men—a college professor and an IBM exec who decide to chuck it all and light out for the Territory—will find what’s over the rainbow. For one thing there are Maoris with traditional full face and body tattoos. There’s a former member of Led Zeppelin and a Texan named Big Mama. And in the wild hinterland paradise of evermore, dreams are made and life is good—just not in the way either Aaron or Beau hoped, planned, or could have ever imagined.
You may read the first chapter of The Land Near Oz on my website, www.aaronallbright.com