From concert halls to recording studios and into Aboriginal heartlands, this is the story of Australia's Geoffrey Gurrumul Yunupingu. This unique Indigenous man is one of the most inspiring music stories of our generation. Part road trip, part biography, Robert Hillman's account of Gurrumul's life and music offers rare insights into the sources of his inspiration. The book includes interviews with family and friends, song lyrics and exclusive photographs. His story is one of a great talent revealed and of an astonishing musical gift that has left audiences all over the world spellbound.
Part road trip, part biography, Robert Hillman's account of Gurrumul's life and artistry takes you behind the scenes and offers rare insights into the sources of his inspiration. In interviews with family and friends, Gurrumul emerges as a man of his people, shaped by the beliefs, rites and ceremonies of a richly engaging culture.
This beautiful, illuminating tale of hope and courage is based on interviews that were conducted with Holocaust survivor and Auschwitz-Birkenau tattooist Ludwig (Lale) Sokolov—an unforgettable love story in the midst of atrocity.
“The Tattooist of Auschwitz is an extraordinary document, a story about the extremes of human behavior existing side by side: calculated brutality alongside impulsive and selfless acts of love. I find it hard to imagine anyone who would not be drawn in, confronted and moved. I would recommend it unreservedly to anyone, whether they’d read a hundred Holocaust stories or none.”—Graeme Simsion, internationally-bestselling author of The Rosie Project
In April 1942, Lale Sokolov, a Slovakian Jew, is forcibly transported to the concentration camps at Auschwitz-Birkenau. When his captors discover that he speaks several languages, he is put to work as a Tätowierer (the German word for tattooist), tasked with permanently marking his fellow prisoners.
Imprisoned for over two and a half years, Lale witnesses horrific atrocities and barbarism—but also incredible acts of bravery and compassion. Risking his own life, he uses his privileged position to exchange jewels and money from murdered Jews for food to keep his fellow prisoners alive.
One day in July 1942, Lale, prisoner 32407, comforts a trembling young woman waiting in line to have the number 34902 tattooed onto her arm. Her name is Gita, and in that first encounter, Lale vows to somehow survive the camp and marry her.
A vivid, harrowing, and ultimately hopeful re-creation of Lale Sokolov's experiences as the man who tattooed the arms of thousands of prisoners with what would become one of the most potent symbols of the Holocaust, The Tattooist of Auschwitz is also a testament to the endurance of love and humanity under the darkest possible conditions.
Leon Joyce's years with Tess Wachowicz began with an Emanuel Ungaro taffeta ballgown, part of his collection of women's attire kept in three wardrobes at the South Yarra house. The collection took in Givenchy, Jacques Fath, Schiaparelli, Madae Gres, Helmut Lang, Claire McCardell, Mainbocher, Miyake, Yves Saint Laurent, Chanel, Dior, Travis Banton, Pucci and Antony Price.
Leon is a man unburdened by sexual desire. Nonetheless he adores his wife - only partly for the way she wears his exquisite collection of haute couture - and when she becomes ill and dies he is completely shattered.
Then he discovers her correspondence with an unknown lover, and his suffering veers towards madness.
Leon hunkers down at his neglected country property, Joyful, with the entire local supply of scotch whisky and a bizarre plan to retrieve (posthumously) Tess's devotion.
In this extraordinary comedy of grief, Robert Hillman evokes his characters, from the merely unconventional to the frankly deranged, with kindness, grace and wit. Joyful is a gift that will leave the reader deeply moved and filled with delight.
Robert Hillman has written a number of books including his 2004 memoir The Boy in the Green Suit, which won the National Biography Award. He lives in Warburton in Victoria's Yarra Valley.
'Hillman allows both men the grace of redemption and the prospect of a better kind of happiness, complete with its scars. Joyful is exactly as it says, a great joy of a book. Robert Hillman is not making fun of grief but rather of his characters' determination to wallow in their sorrow. It is a constant balancing act, skillfully enforced by Hillman and it makes reading Joyful an act of absolute pleasure.' Hoopla
'A detailed work that portrays an entire, sealed world of complex and ultimately connected storylines. The cultural setting is realised in a wonderfully rich Victorian style. Extended studies of social manners, quotes from journals and letters, and the aligning of characters with their passions for books, poetry and music, clothing, all produce a social world that is not only vivid but also ripe for commentary and debate.' Australian Book Review
'A deft and original portrayal of grief, longing and forgiveness.' Gideon Haigh
'A story about redemption and negotiating a place of peace inside despair.' Saturday Paper
‘Hillman has a carefully calibrated sense of the line between mourning and madness, and he plays it to the hilt... Hillman’s prose is a pleasure to read, elegantly alert to the paradox of strong feeling, full of poetry yet never entirely convinced by the absurd rhetorical gestures favoured by ruined men.’ Weekend Australian
‘This calamitous work, brassy with the vigour of life in a specifically Australian, specifically contemporary way, singles Hillman out from the crowd. There is nothing around quite like it; no genre, no homage to acknowledge. Leon, in his journey towards acceptance of the duality of one life, is a memorable, even dear character, and I would have been happy to have read this glittering, noisy work for Leon alone. And for Susie...and for the happy ending.’ Sydney Morning Herald
‘Slightly crazed, this unconventional story is essentially two similar struggles, at once both funny and sad. They finally merge and find resolution.’ Otago Daily Times
‘Ravishing, compelling prose...It’s a strangely funny, compelling, and sad novel, the beauty of which is found in searching for what remains once beauty has disappeared.’ Bookslut