'A collection of personal essays and writing from David Malouf to celebrate his 80th birthday.
'Topography, geography, history. Multiculturalism, referendums, the constitution and national occasions. Parental and grandparental romances, the sensual and bountiful beauty of Brisbane, the mysterious offerings of Queenslander houses, and leaving home. The idea of a nation and the heart of its people. Being Australian and Australia's relationship to the world. Putting ourselves on the map.
'All these subjects, and more, are explored from the generous, questioning and original perspective of David Malouf.
'At the heart of these pieces is the idea of home, where and what it is. What they illustrate is the formation of a man, an Australian and one of the best writers this country has produced.' (Publisher's blurb)
''Silence was a deeply established tradition. Men used it as a form of self-protection; it saved those who had experienced the horrors of war from the emotional trauma of experiencing it all over again in the telling. And it saved women and children, back home, from the terrible knowledge of what they had seen and walked away from … One result of this was that the men who had actually lived through Gallipoli and the trenches did not write about it.'
'In the century since the Gallipoli landing, Anzac Day has taken on a different tenor for each succeeding generation. Perceptively and evocatively, David Malouf traces the meaning of this 'one day' when Australians stop to reflect on endurance, service and the folly of war. He shows how what was once history has now passed into legend, and how we have found in Anzac Day 'a truly national occasion.'' (Publication summary)