A young boy plays the violin for his mother in Melbourne. Nina Simone sings 'Pirate Jenny' in a bar in Berlin. A fisherman plays a flute on the Mekong. And the strains of Paganini resonate in the forests of eastern Poland. From the cabarets of 1940s Baghdad to the streets of war-torn Saigon and the canals and alleyways of present-day Venice, music weaves through each of these spellbinding true stories.
They are tales of hardship, of yearning and of celebration. Tales that span the globe, and bring us back to Melbourne and the extraordinary story of Amal - her flight from Iraq, her fears boarding the unseaworthy boat Australians would come to know as SIEV X, her night spent clinging to a corpse alone in the sea, 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.
'The depths of human suffering and perseverance are conveyed through memory and music, as Zable travels through hearts and landscapes scarred by war. This book is a wonderfully complex, sad and beautiful read.' Australian Bookseller & Publisher 'This is a genuinely beautiful piece of work, history made poetry through graceful writing and a caring eye.' 4zzzfm 'A gifted storyteller, Zable unearths the hidden symmetry and arresting images that make these tales sing.' Herald Sun 'In Violin Lessons, Zable displays the wisdom and kindness that has permeated all his works - the reason they are so loved.' -- Mark Rubbo Readings Monthly 'In Arnold Zable's resonant new collection, Violin Lessons, we glimpse much and discover truth...Song and instrumental sound are included subtly in each of the stories to arresting effect...This is an edifying book. Basry says her life's purpose is "to tell what happened". Zable, through his stories, shows us why we need to listen.' Age