The Australia Stories
Todd James Pierce
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Buy *The Australia Stories* online

The Australia Stories

Todd James Pierce
MacAdam/Cage Publishing
229 pages
April 2003
rated 3 1/2 of 5 possible stars

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Sam Browne is seduced by the mythology of Australia and its central importance in the lives of his mother and grandmother. Both have disappeared into the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, his grandmother to myth and his mother in the pursuit of her own mother's memory. The Blue Mountains exert a strong pull on the young man as he looks back over the yearlong sojourn in his matriarchal continent before his mother is lost forever.

The territory of memory has long been a repository for the vast, unknowable and myth-saturated countries like Australia, whose Aboriginal population has fed ancient belief in the mystical qualities endemic to such spectacular geography. And for Sam, the compelling feminist content of his relatives' commitment adds fuel to his burgeoning curiosity.

Mothers have a unique opportunity, forging indelible links with their children: for girls, mothers are role models; for boys, they are the standard by which to compare other women. As Sam Browne fills his years in California with school and a first marriage, he cannot help but heed the siren call of his mother's native country. In The Australia Stories, Todd James Pierce perfectly captures female sensitivities and the power of familial ties, reading Sam's mother's emotions with acuity in that short year spent with her in Katoomba before returning to the rest of his life with his father in California.

As the years play out, the maturing Sam Browne feels Australia in the marrow of his bones, the lives of his mother and grandmother ever more an intrinsic element of his spirit. Sam digests his grandmother's journals, plumbing the mystery of this woman so drawn to the culture of the Aborigines, and something indefinable awakens in his soul. He begins an intimate journey toward understanding the true nature of intergenerational connectionsas they evolve one into another, spiraling through time. Finally at peace with the past, Sam steps easily into his future, where limitations have no purchase, offering only promise and possibility.

© 2003 by Luan Gaines for Curled Up With a Good Book

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