The Golden Land by Di Morrissey interweaves the beauty and troubled political turmoil of Burma, its culture and people, with the life of Natalie living on the Gold Coast in Queensland. This is a beautiful story of resolution and putting right the past to heal the present, of the role of women in rebuilding a devastated country and the richness of Australia’s diverse society.
The novel spans from the Burma of 1885, beginning with Natalie’s great-great uncle Andrew’s attempt to put right what he considered to be a dishonourable wrong, all the way through to modern-day Australia, where Natalie is faced with a moral dilemma connected with Andrew’s unfulfilled wish from so long ago.
Natalie’s interest in an old family heirloom, that is nearly thrown out in her mother’s house clearance, unexpectedly becomes the source of a new dimension to her life and the beginning of her journey to greater self-knowledge and maturity.
She is intrigued by this exquisitely illustrated “kammavaca”, an old Burmese sacred religious text, which her ancestor, great-great uncle Andrew had gone to such great lengths to secure. She feels a strong bond, a connection with Burma and great-great uncle Andrew, that transcends time and place.
Attempting to find out more about this artefact opens up a completely new world to her. It also brings her new friendships that greatly enrich her life in so many ways and on many different levels. However, the kammavaca also represents a time of crisis in her life. She is faced with hard choices at a difficult time when unexpected personal problems make decisions more complicated.
Natalie’s growing understanding of Burmese culture and appreciation of its warmth and graciousness are instrumental in her development from a young woman who has never ventured outside her comfort zone to one eager to learn and embrace new experiences. Distraught at the brutality of the political situation in the homeland of her new friends, Natalie tries to do what she can to help.
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Title: The Golden Land
Author: Di Morrissey
Category: Contemporary Fiction
Publisher: Pan Macmillan Australia
RRP: $32.99 AUD
Publication Date: 1 November 2012