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Introduction by Anne Manne
Romulus Gaita fled Yugoslavia aged thirteen, and came to Australia with his wife and their son soon after World War II. Tragic events were to overtake the boy’s life, but Raimond Gaita has an extraordinary and moving tale to tell of growing up with his father in country Victoria. Romulus, My Father is the much-loved story of how a compassionate, honest man taught his son the meaning of living a decent life.
This Text Classics edition is introduced by the Walkley Award-winning journalist Anne Manne, whose partner, Robert Manne, initially encouraged Gaita to expand the eulogy he gave at his father’s funeral into this acclaimed memoir.
‘Elegantly composed and written, both profoundly moral and perceptive in its social observations…It is a tragic, uplifting book whose eponymous hero emerges as one of the more magnetic creations in recent Australian writing.’
‘Consistently astounding…one of the most remarkable works of autobiography I have read for years, a memoir of absolutely compelling tragi-comic quality.’
‘Extraordinary and beautiful…Gaita’s book is about how it is possible to stare into the abyss of nothingness and see beyond it to the redeeming mystery that is life…Romulus, My Father is a profound meditation on love and death, madness and truth, judgment and compassion. It is about so much that matters that is normally so little discussed with so little honesty.’
‘Gaita’s book is a moving account of his father’s commitment to words and of his struggle with a world of feelings that his words cannot get hold of…Tenderness is at the heart of the book.’
‘This turbulent and tormented story of a migrant family’s life scarred by mental illness, skewed passions and suicide is a troubled tale relieved profoundly by compassion and honesty…it’s an insight into human hope, dignity and darkness.’
‘Enthralling…a tale about madness, suicide, affliction and betrayal…a rare and passionate book, the like of which has seldom been seen in Australia.’
‘Radiates warmth; Gaita’s memoir constantly reinforces not only humanity, but the mystery of being human.’
‘A sustained dialogue with the past from which the present has been born, and an extended essay on madness and death, love and friendship, beauty, truth and morality…Romulus fills every page with his presence.’