Sam and Susana
My novel, ‘Sam and Susana’ is set in Auckland in 1968. The story centres on the developing relationship between two students: Sam, a 21 year old from a middle class palagi family, and Susana, a Samoan girl from Otara. When they meet Sam is cynical about university, dedicated to sports and to his drinking companions, but unresolved in almost all other areas of his life. He desperately wants to free himself from the well-to-do St Heliers home where he still lives with his parents, and move out into the world with a more secure set of values and ambitions. He has liberal ideas, bordering at times on Socialist, fuelled by the political events of the day, but not yet translated into any actions. Susana is overflowing with enthusiasm and sees being at University as a privilege. She is very uncertain about academia, but has a strong set of attitudes about everything else, especially the value of family, religion and morality. She is deeply conscious of her extended family’s pride and expectations. Their romance does not progress smoothly. For both of them, their relationship, together with the radical examination of values and attitudes arising from the political and social upheavals of 1968, demands large, uncomfortable challenges and changes to enter their lives.