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Romulus, My Father

Romulus, My Father

Raimond Gaita

  • awardWinner, Victorian Premier’s Literary Award for Non-Fiction, 1998
  • Romulus Gaita fled his home in his native Yugoslavia at the age of thirteen, and came to Australia with his young wife Christina and their infant son Raimond soon after the end of World War II.

    Tragic events were to overtake the boy’s life, but Raimond Gaita has an extraordinary story to tell about growing up with his father amid the stony paddocks and flowing grasses of country Australia.

    Written simply and movingly, Romulus, My Father is about how a compassionate and honest man taught his son the meaning of living a decent life. It is about passion, betrayal and madness, about friendship and the joy and dignity of work, about character and fate, affliction and spirituality.

    No one will read this wonderful book without an enhanced sense of the possibilities of being alive.

    Kári Gíslason reviews Romulus, My Father for Australian Book Review.  

    Reading Australia teaching notes available here.


    Raimond Gaita
    About the Author

    Raimond Gaita was born in Germany in 1946. He is Emeritus Professor of moral philosophy at Kings College London, and a Professorial fellow at the Melbourne Law School and the faculty of Arts of the University of Melbourne.

    His books have been published in many translations. They include: Good and Evil: An Absolute Conception, Romulus, My Father,...

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    Text publication date:
    31 July 2017
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    family, honour, immigrant life
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    Praise for Raimond Gaita
    andRomulus, My Father

    ‘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…its 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.’

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