Noel Pearson launches The Aunt’s Mirrors

November 28, 2014 by Roz Tarszisz
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Noel Pearson has launched The Aunt’s Mirrors a family memoir which discusses the history of seven generations of the author’s family in Australia.

Damien discusses the book with Noel Pearson

Damien Freeman discusses the book with Noel Pearson

The Aunt’s Mirrors by Damien Freeman was described by Noel Pearson as more than an exercise in family history.

Noel Pearson, Aboriginal land rights activist and author of the recent Quarterly Essay on constitutional recognition of Indigenous Australians, A Rightful Place, said that Freeman’s book is much more than a memoir.

“I find it is fundamentally a work of philosophy, and there is great philosophical guidance, and some riveting passages in this book, at least from my perspective.”

“I am transported back to the time when the places of this continent were to its ancient custodians what Jerusalem was, and is, to the children of Israel. I am a student of Jewish history and a great admirer of the Jewish people” said Pearson.

The Aunt’s Mirrors offers insights that Indigenous Australians might take from the Jewish experience in Australia he added.

“I’m really keen to know how it is that we might sustain our identity as a people whilst participating in all the opportunities and privileges that come with being an Australian” said Pearson.

Freeman’s writing also disclosed to him deep similarities between Aboriginal and Jewish values.

After reading a particular passage, Pearson commented, “That is fundamentally resonant with the Aboriginal concept of family and the passing on of sacred and important objects between generations. The whole memory of the ancient past is carried in those objects.”

The launch was held at a reception hosted by Kerry Jones, CEO of the Constitution Education Fund Australia (CEFA).

The book is published by independent literary publishers, Brandl & Schlesinger.

Author Thomas Keneally, a member of CEFA’s Board of Directors, has praised the memoir as “utterly engaging, subtle where it counts, robust in its narrative and utterly charming.” He says the book’s “central device gives it a unity and a drive readers will enjoy.”

The memoir has also received international acclaim. Richard Zimler, author of The Last Kabbalist of Lisbon, writes that “Jewish and Australian history converge in this compelling and beautifully documented memoir.”

Damien Freeman will be speaking about The Aunt’s Mirrors at the Sydney Jewish Museum on Sunday, 30 November at 3.30pm, and at Waverley Library for the Sydney Jewish Writers’ Festival on Monday, 1 December at 10.00am.

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