This Explains Everything by Richard von Sturmer


ISBN: 978-0-9941376-0-9
150PP | 220mm x 145mm

Richard von Sturmer is one of New Zealand’s most versatile artists. He has written hit pop songs, acted in a famous feature film, made his own movies, published acclaimed books of poetry and prose, and lectured and written about Zen Buddhism. In This Explains Everything von Sturmer reveals some of the origins of his creativity and restlessness by telling the stories of two members of his family. He describes his grandfather Ernest von Sturmer’s adventures in Australia’s Western Desert, where he tried to make his fortune during the Great Depression by prospecting for minerals. Ernest von Sturmer’s near suicidal journeys gave him a reputation: an outback policeman once refused to shake the explorer’s hand, for fear that he might be a ghost.

Von Sturmer recalls an alternatively idyllic and eerie childhood on Auckland’s North Shore, on a strip of half-rural land between the volcanic waters of Lake Pupuke and the Waitemata harbour. Von Sturmer celebrates his father, a man who struggled with guilt and depression, yet also loved to play surreal games and hatch complicated jokes. This Explains Everything ends with a series of poems and song lyrics that bring together many parts of the von Sturmer family story.

“This is a gorgeous and poignant book, an intensely personal story of family love and yearning that also speaks to the formation of the imaginative self. Richard von Sturmer is the best New Zealand memoirist since Martin Edmond.” – Anne Kennedy

“This is beautiful writing; dream-like, precise, magnificent.” – Don McGlashan

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RICHARD VON STURMER is a writer, performer, and film-maker. He is well known for having written the lyrics to Blam Blam Blam’s ‘There is No Depression in New Zealand’, which has become the country’s alternate national anthem. Five collections of his writing have been published including: A Network of Dissolving Threads (Auckland University Press, 1991), Suchness: Zen Poetry and Prose (HeadworX, 2005), and On the Eve of Never Departing (Titus Books, 2009).