Man Alone by John Mulgan
I bought this book in Scorpio Books in Christchurch. The story recounts the life of Johnson, an English soldier in post World War I society in New Zealand. Each new job he takes coincides with changes in society and reflects the hardships of the time. What started with the promise of an easy lifestyle where work, a wage and room are always available, ends up a harsh and unpredictable lifestyle.
The description on the back of the book says the author sees the “New Zealand society as detached and unsentimental, with the power to reject and alienate”. That was the feel and tone I gathered from the lecture and maybe that was why I was not too connected to the story except the excitement of recognizing some of the places.