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Violin Lessons - Arnold Zable

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From the songs of Arab diva Umm Khultum on the banks of the Tigris to the strains of a young boy playing the violin for his mother in Melbourne, to the swing jazz of the nightclubs and cabarets of 1940s Baghdad, a fisherman playing a flute on the banks of the Mekong, and Paganini in the borderlands of eastern Poland… Music weaves its way through each of these spellbinding stories. Each tale, each fragment of music, leads to Amal, the woman who saved her life by clinging to a corpse for twenty hours alone in the sea.

Arnold Zable takes the reader on an intimate journey into the lives of people he met on travels over the last forty years. These are tales aching to be told. Tales of hardship, of yearning and of celebration. Tales that span the globe, and bring us back to Melbourne to the powerful and heartbreaking story of Amal—her flight from Baghdad, her fears boarding the unseaworthy SIEV X, her survival when it went down, and her desire to have her story told.

'Maybe this is why I am alive,' Amal says, 'to tell the story of the people who sank in the ocean.'

About The Author

Arnold Zable was born in Wellington, New Zealand, and grew up in the inner Melbourne suburb of Carlton. He has travelled and lived in the USA, India, Papua New Guinea, Europe, Southeast Asia and China, and now lives in Melbourne with his wife and son. His books include Jewels and Ashes, Café Scheherazade, The Fig Tree, Scraps of Heaven and Sea of Many Returns. Arnold is president of the International PEN, Melbourne, and is a human rights advocate.

She sits by a table in black robes and black hijab, a short, rotund woman, spherical almost. She leans forward, palms facing upwards, fingers curling, as if imploring. Her hand gestures are expansive, her amber eyes alight with expectation and gentle fury, and she is saying:

'When the boat went down, I saw everything. I am like a camera. I cannot forget anything. I want people to know what happened. I want people to know we are human. Maybe that is why I am alive, to tell the story of the boat, to tell about the children and their dreams, the women and their dreams, to tell of the men, what happened to them in my country. And why the Iraqi people want to escape, why we have to take this boat to save our life, to save our family. Maybe this is why I did not die in the ocean.'

ISBN: 9781921758478
ISBN-10: 1921758473
Audience: General
Format: Paperback
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 288
Published: 1st August 2011
Country of Publication: AU
Dimensions (cm): 23.4 x 15.5  x 1.5
Weight (kg): 23.4
Edition Number: 1