Trust Me, I'm a Storyteller

August 12, 2011

Violin Lessons – Arnold Zable

Violin Lessons by Arnold Zable

Arnold Zable has released his latest book Violin Lessons published by Text.  Zable is the narrator of stories of the lives of displaced people, survivors and their families, like Amal Basri rescued from the SIEV X after almost twenty-four hours in the ocean, whose moving story is told in ‘The Ancient Mariner’.   Another story, ‘The Dust of Life’ follows the lives of children orphaned by the war in Vietnam: Bui doi, the boys were called, ‘the dust of life’, but in this moment of blessed sleep they were a brotherhood united by common circumstance, living a semblance of family life in a transient haven in a warring city where the bonds of civility had been strained beyond the limits.

As the title of this poignant yet gripping collection of stories suggests, music is present in each story. In ‘The Ancient Mariner’, Amal sings; in ‘The Dust of Life’, the music flows from a bamboo flute. ‘In time, the distinction between flute and water, bamboo and breeze vanished, and all that remained was the flow of the notes—a melody that belonged to streams and rivers, outside and beyond history, beyond the scourge of contending armies, beyond the stench of camps and shantytowns housing the displaced and exiled. Beyond the madness.

You can read a review of Violin Lessons published in the Canberra Times. Arnold tells me that: ‘one thing I would add to that quote from the Canberra Times article is that the difference between ordinary and extraordinary for the story teller is often dependent on the intensity of our listening. Seemingly ordinary people often possess that extra in simple but profound ways.‘

Zable book review in the Canberra Times

Violin Lessons is hitting the bookshops now, so watch out for it or order your copy from Text Publishers.

Arnold is an award winning writer, storyteller, educator, and human rights advocate and a wonderful speaker. I met him at Eltham “World Matters” where he spoke eloquently and passionately about refugees and people who are seeking asylum during his discussion with Susan Metcalfe about her book The Pacific Solution

Arnold Zable’s many books include:

 Jewels and Ashes, (Scribe, 1991) which won five Australian literary awards

Cafe Scheherazade, (Text, 2001)

The Fig Tree, (Text, 2002)

Scraps of Heaven, (Text, 2004)

Sea of Many Returns, (Text, 2008)

Special Event for Members of the NSW Writers’ Centre

Arnold Zable will join NSW Writers’ Centre members for an in conversation event, where he will talk about his life and his work. Arnold comes to the Writers’ Centre via the Writing Australia 2011 touring program and will be in conversation with Rebecca Giggs.

The event is part of the NSW Writers’ Centre Free Member Events.

Arnold Zable and Rebecca Giggs in Conversation at the NSW Writers’ Centre Members Only night on Monday 26 September, 6:30 pm – 8:30 pm.

An event not to be missed.

RSVP to events@nswwc.org.au with your name and member number to attend.

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