The Australian Fiance is a deeply moving novel. Not so much because of its story, which has moments of intensity, but is primarily, a simple story of love and loss. Rather, it is the exquisite language, the poetic transcendence affected by Lazaroo’s narrative which draws the reader into the character of the Eurasian woman, submerged with her, until we are also nameless, nationless, simultaneously guilty and innocent, soft and hard, lost and found.
Chumley’s own story is poignant enough, and his early diet, quite astonishing, involving something like 30,000 calories a day (on a very rough calculation), including pints of ice cream, frequent in between meal visits to fast food chains for multiple…
The exercises are simple, and not very different from other types of callisthenics, although they draw from Yoga a focus on breathing, and on slow, controlled movements done perfectly, in an attempt to integrate mind and body. The book covers the origins and philosophy behind Pilates, including the use of things like creative visualisation, breathing, control over the specific body parts being conditioned, flow, precision, and coordination.
This would be a great tool for a conferencing, teambuilding, or ideally, a career development session, and the simple but innovative exercises coupled with the poetic focus would provide a refreshing change, especially if done with the help of a trained facilitator, to the usual teambuilding fodder. As a stimulus to breaking though a career rut, and opening the door to self-awareness and examination, it’s ideal.
While Hall-Downs makes it clear in the preface that My Arthritic Heart is an autobiographical account of her struggles with Rheumatoid Arthritis, the poetry, like all good poetry, transcends its subject. In the intense immediacy of the words, Rheumatoid Arthritis becomes every chronic disease; every feeling of marginalisation; every expression of poverty; the sense of being not good enough, not pretty enough, not fit enough.