A Fence Around the Cuckoo is the first volume of Ruth a park’s autobiography. Written as vividly as any of her novels, it is a moving, passionate, often funny account of her curious early childhood, alone with her parents in the remote rainforests of New Zealand, isolated from other children until the family moved to the small township of Te Kuiti in the King Country. A classic storyteller, Ruth Park writes lovingly of her boisterous Scottish Irish Scandinavian family. There are her giggly, capricious aunts with their soap-opera approach to life, her ‘tread-on-the-tail-of-me-coat’ Irish grandmother, and her confrontations with her boy cousins. Their vitality and humour provide a contrast -and comfort-to the poverty and social disarray of the Depression years, as Ruth struggled to become a writer, and struck up a reluctant correspondence with another fledgling writer, D’Arcy Niland, from outback Australia.