Trials • Suicide • Survival • Injustice
Respectable families hold on to their myths, contain the violence, uphold the Establishment. There was always going to be a story. It couldn’t be overlooked, and this one will set the skeletons rattling and the gin bottles clinking up and down the country. The story is exposed through the life and times of Nicholas Lyon Gresson, enlivened by his passion for justice. Overall it is a story of survival.
This memoir is a New Zealand social history with firsthand accounts of crime and justice, psychiatry, advocacy for those who suffer injustice, community and family. It is also a saga of five generations of the well-known Gresson family giving an authentic context to the life of the author’s father, Justice Terence A. Gresson, who was appointed to the Supreme Court judiciary in 1956 at forty-two and died by suicide at fifty-three. His forebear Henry Barnes Gresson emigrated from Irish soil in the 1850s and became first resident judge of Canterbury. Justice Sir Kenneth Gresson became president of the Court of Appeal, and another great-uncle, Justice Sir John Edward Denniston, was knighted for services to the judiciary. Unforgettable characters from all walks of life claim an authentic place with their idiosyncrasies and inclinations. Anecdotes, letters and diaries provide insights into Canterbury’s founding fabric and inherited values.
The author sought a life pursuing challenges abroad, learning first-hand the vagaries of survival on foreign shores. But there is always a price to be paid for desertion. Following his father’s tragic death Nick endured the greatest of trials. The reader is left gasping as events unfold.
This comprehensive exploration of a life on a road less travelled confronts the reader with tender and brutal honesty, sustaining an irresistible momentum to the final pages – all this reverberating upon a rich setting of family ground.