In a print exclusive, she talks to Anne Perry, formerly known as Juliet Hulme.
Here’s a taste:
Hulme did five years in Mt Eden Prison, then departed for England and reunited with her always-elsewhere parents. She took the surname of her stepfather and worked jobs from nanny to stewardess. Eventually, she found a measure of fame and fortune as the person now speaking with charmingly old-school precision down the line from her converted barn in Portmahomack, Scotland.
Yet Juliet Hulme keeps materialising, like an obliquely acknowledged hologram, vanishing before you can get a fix on her. It does your head in. It’s hard to imagine what it does to hers. “When the film came out, that was indescribably awful,” she tells me. “But I choose to look forward rather than to look back and to make the best of it. Not the film. I don’t want anything to do with it. Because that was a work of fiction.”
When she says, “I would rather have kept my privacy, I think”, you understand her hesitation. “In a sense I have nothing to hide any more. The worst has happened, so to speak. You don’t think, ‘I’m going to get to know this person and they’re going to like me and then they are going to find out this and it’s all going to fall into bits.’”
Now she’s being further outed in a biography, The Search for Anne Perry, by New Zealand academic and biographer Joanne Drayton. “Now I think I don’t have to explain myself,” Perry says optimistically. “They probably know more about me than I do.”
Of course, the explaining never ends. There’s a now-familiar series of mantras, what Dana Linkiewicz, maker of the sad, haunted Perry documentary Interiors, has described as the “sentences she needs to cling onto to manage her life”.
Perry tackles her past with a hopefulness that carries an undertow of anguish. “I’ve depended on the kindness of strangers,” she says, unafraid of invoking Tennessee Williams’s tragic, deluded Blanche DuBois, “and I’ve very seldom ever been let down.” Well, when things went haywire she was only a child. “Yes, I think more people understand now that at that age your brain isn’t really in gear … Added to which I’d been out of circulation for a couple of years and that does make a difference to how you see things.”
Also in the new edition:
• Two minutes with George Henare.
• Rebecca Macfie on New Zealand’s water wars.
• David Cohen on Kiwiblogger and pollster David Farrar.
• Sally Blundell on Jacqueline Fahey.
• Books from Witi Ihimaera, PA O’Reilly, Carrie Tiffany and Antony Beevor, plus Bernard Carpinter’s roundup of crime novels and thrillers.
• Plus in music, singers Madeleine and Anna Pierard, The Valkyrie, Lawrence Arabia, Fiona Apple; in theatre, Awatea; and in curtural curmudgeonliness, Hamish Keith.
• And all the columns and cartoons and crosswords and recipes and what have you.