The Severed Cord by Stephen Twartz

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  • Language ‏ : ‎ English
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Harry, grandson of a WW1 Light Horse veteran, feels like he is drowning: drowning in emotion or rather the lack of it, drowning in the expectations of others, drowning in failed relationships. Who can he turn to, where can he find a solution to the mess that is his life? Jimmy, an aboriginal stockman, is cajoled into a war. WW1 rages in Europe, spilling over into Palestine, a conflict he doesn’t understand, a conflict that has nothing to do with him. The lives of two men, generations apart, come together through the trauma of war and overt prejudice, and the phenomenon of intergenerational suffering. This is not only a story of degradation and despair, but also of the resurrection of hope through gratitude, acceptance and a belief in the power of good. The tale interweaves Jimmy’s story with the distress of the current generation, where Harry’s relationships fail and his life seems without foundation in the shifting sands of a fast, ever-changing modern world. Jimmy accompanies the two sons of his employer to Palestine in 1917, to a fight against the Turks. That conflict inevitably forces him to witness and do terrible things, deeds so against his nature and beliefs, that he returns from the war a broken man, unable to accept the love of his family, detached from everything that he holds dear. This fictional novel is firmly imbedded in actual events of the 1917-18 Palestinian campaign and explores the human response to the phenomenon of epigenetics, where the deeds of the past actively influence the behaviour of current generations, some five or six generations removed from the original trauma. The narrative alludes therefore, to the trials of first people everywhere, those displaced by invasion (eg Australia, North and South America), those dispossessed by greed and intolerance. Jimmy is eventually lost to the world, but Harry has a chance of redemption, through his examination of his family’s history and pursuit of past truths. The story follows the root causes of Harry’s dysfunction, through the battles fought by his grandfather and Jimmy in Palestine and the inter-war years and highlights Jimmy’s fight against prejudice in Australia.


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