A New York Times Editor’s Choice

Shortlisted for the 2009 NSW Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction

and the 2010 William Saroyan International Prize

Few readers will forget their first meeting with the author, with her Maori husband, and with the historical context that swirls around them. Thompson writes beautifully, and, even more remarkably, she surprises us on every page.
— Anne Fadiman, award-winning author of THE SPIRIT CATCHES YOU AND YOU FALL DOWN

IN AUSTRALIA, I often used to stand on the beach and look out to sea and think about what it must have been like to see these places for the first time. It was a curious thought, since the view from where I stood was exactly the opposite of what those first Europeans saw. They, seeing land from sea, recorded it in gently undulating profiles, taking note of any distinctive formations that might prove useful to future navigators. To them it was a stretch of rocky coastline, miles of inscrutable grey-green bush, a series of possible landfalls, inlets and bays where one might get water, reefs and sandbars to avoid. To me, standing there with my back to the cliffs, it was a great reach of emptiness, a stretch of possibility, the gentle curve of the horizon at the edge of the sea.

Praise for Come on Shore

At heart a love story, Come On Shore and We Will Kill and Eat You All is a moving examination of exploration—both inner and outer—and the way our travels into remote places on Earth can become travels into the remote places in our hearts and souls. — Philadelphia Inquirer

A thing of beauty . . . Thompson manages in her memoir to do what good fiction does: this book will certainly entertain those who want to learn more about Pacific history. — Tampa Tribune

Engagingly  and candidly explores what our histories—both personal and national—give us: not answers but rather ‘the most interesting questions.’ — San Francisco Chronicle

A fascinating glimpse into the adventure of cross-cultural relationships . . . Come on Shore and We will Kill and Eat You All is a unique book. . . . an examination of how the present is a child of the past. — News-Leader

This book stands out because of its sharp, fine writing and the fresh glimpses it gives of New Zealand . . . Her story is told with a strong and compulsive narrative drive. — New Statesman

It’s this human connection that makes this book so potent a work. . . . While Tasman arrived first at the crossroads of history, Thompson has chosen to make her home there. — New Zealand Geographic

A charming blend of travel writing, cultural history, anthropology, and memoir, this intriguing book honors the nineteenth-century explorers' narratives that are its inspiration. ― Andrea Barrett, author of Ship Fever and The Voyage of the Narwhal

Offbeat, intimate and absorbing . . . a story about mutual incomprehension, illuminated, if not dispelled, by the author’s own romance with the Maori. — The Economist

A highly unusual blend of personal memoir, travel writing and anthropology . . . the happy result of a scholarly writer looking round at this particular theoretical minefield and deciding to make it her home. — Sunday Times (London)

Thompson . . . puts her vantage point of insider-outsider . . . to good effect, tracing the genealogy of racial stereotypes and cutting through some of New Zealand’s most cherished myths about itself. — New York Times Book Review

A sedulous animation of what historians call ‘the subject position,’ which underlines the way historical truth can be apprehended only subjectively . . . a superb book full of gravity and truth. — Sydney Morning Herald