Making sense of human differences
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The University of Iowa’s Virtual Writing University will carry a live stream when Paul’s Book Club discusses David Malouf’s novel Remembering Babylon at 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 15. The stream will originate in a free event featuring famed book-buyer Paul Ingram and friends in Prairie Lights Books, 15 S. Dubuque St. in downtown Iowa City.
“Have you ever heard the deep throb of the didgeridoo, the official musical instrument of the Australian aborigine?” asks Ingram, a winner of James Patterson’s PageTurner Award. “It’s often heard in the soundtracks of Australian films and the human feelings it conjures in this Iowan are deep but unrecognizable.
“The sounds of music before there was much notion of music, only sound, the throb of locusts, tribal people gathered under night skies. People who’s life experience is so different from our own that it buggers our empathy to try to imagine the course of their lives.”
Novelist and poet David Malouf has been among the bravest of artists with a European cultural background to engage in the struggle of the imagination necessary to make sense of the lives of the aboriginal people of Australia. In Remembering Babylon, he gives us a 13-year-old English cabin boy who is washed ashore in south Australia, far from all human contact save that of regional aborigines.
The novel begins with his discovery a decade later by the children of settlers—a wretched half-English, half-aborigine with no particular sense of who or what he might be. This novel of life in the harshest of circumstances carries an overlay of political, ethical, and magical thoughts about human difference.
Remembering Babylon won the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award in 1996. Malouf has been the winner of the Neustadt International Prize for Literature, the Age Book of the Year, and the Australia-Asia Literary Award, and he has been shortlisted for the Booker Prize. He is a fellow of the Royal Society of Literature.
For accommodations at the live event, contact email@example.com.