A Threefold Cord
Carrots and Jaffas
Carrots and Jaffas (2014) is available from the following bookstores: Readings (Carlton/Hawthorn/Malvern/St Kilda), Avenue Bookstore (Albert Park/Elsternwick), selected Dymocks, Gleebooks.
Online from: Hybrid Publishers, Booktopia, The Nile, The Book Depository.
eBook available from: Amazon, Angus & Robertson, Bookworld.
Carrots and Jaffas tells the story of two red-headed identical twins whose oneness is ruptured when one of them is kidnapped. Their startling intimacy is both a strength and a fault line in their being, and once separated, their individuality emerges. In the course of this exhilarating domestic tale set in Melbourne and the Flinders Ranges, the reader encounters the twins’ parents – emotional, scripture-quoting Luisa and calm Bernard – as well as two remarkable storytellers, Doc, an eccentric outback doctor and Greta, an Aboriginal elder. Trauma is followed by recovery through the unexpected agency of story and ‘country’ (in the Australian Aboriginal meaning of that term).
‘Carrots and Jaffas is the story of mothers cheated of their young. It is a sensitively crafted tale of twin boys wrenched apart and the mothers who care for them. This tale of cultures meeting and merging brings to life the northern Flinders Ranges – its characters, its landscape and its traditions.’ Kristin Weidenbach
‘A tale of abduction and heartbreak at its most immediate level of involvement, Carrots and Jaffas is also an engaging study of individual identity and its sources. Boldly plotted, diligently crafted, Howard Goldenberg’s story of identical twins, violently parted at the age of ten, reveals the hunger that dwells in all of us to stand distinct in the gaze of God. The book goes further still, for when the maelstrom of the abduction has passed, we are left to ponder the mystery of belonging, and the role of love as the great agent of our survival.’ Robert Hillman
Every year for over a decade Goldenberg, a white middle-aged doctor, has spent numerous periods working as a relieving doctor for Aboriginal communities in remote places. On these visits he has observed and recorded Aboriginal Australians’ lives without resorting to simplification or glib solutions.
Among his true stories we meet psychotic Elijah who believes he is Satan’s boss and cannot die; a dehydrated baby whose mother gambles away money for food; an old lady who receives a gashed head while fending off a thief stealing her money – her husband. In the midst of tragedies, suffering and moral ambiguity, these stories also tell of cultural richness and common humanity.
Goldenberg writes: ‘Aboriginal Australians are not at peace. They are variously u
nwell, underfed, overfed, afflicted excessively by our lifestyle diseases, confused by our drugs and drink, endowed with income but not with work, living in sickening poverty in paradisiacal places; and distracted from their serious cultural business by the trappings of our serious cultural emptiness.’
Raft can be ordered online through Hybrid Publishers, Amazon and Booktopia.
My Father’s Compass (2007)
My Father’s Compass (Hybrid Publishers) is a poignant, moving and at times hilarious memoir celebrating the long life of a man with many roles: country doctor, gardener, seaman, carpenter, welder, French polisher, shipwright, cook, religious Jew and mohel (performer of ritual circumcisions).
As a doctor, he earned the admiration and respect of the farming community of Leeton, the love of his patients and the esteem of his colleagues. As a man, he inspired all who knew him. Fiercely independent, passionate and always stubborn, he selflessly cared for his ailing wife into his nineties.
Through the pages of this beautifully written book, Howard Goldenberg records and honours the deep faith, strength and vitality of his father, as well as giving the reader a glimpse into the soul of a tightly bonded family with roots going back to eastern Europe and Turkish Palestine.
From the naughty escapades of little boys to a tragic drowning, from the joys of sailing to the heartache of helping aging parents, Goldenberg’s love, respect and intense loyalty shine through on every page.
This book will evoke tears and laughter, grief and joy as it paints an unforgettable portrait of the man who continues to guide and inspire his descendants.
Martin Flanagan: ‘Howard Goldenberg writes with verve and humour. He also writes with deep compassion. It is this unusual marriage of qualities which makes him a rare and valuable witness to our times.’
Helen Garner: ‘Honest, funny, painful, shining with respect and love: a man’s tribute to the severe beauty of his father’s character.’
My Father’s Compass can be ordered online through Hybrid Publishers and Amazon.