Saturday, February 18, 2012

Barry Levy - Former SA Journalist living in Australia

Barry Levy...

Barry needs little Introduction..! I'm humbled to have this opportunity to showcase this powerful writer's work on my blog. What resonates for me firstly, is his exuberant, expansive selfless ... and compassionate soul, which rings loudly through the genres which he elects to write about- combined with his poetic insight and perception which brings brutal truth to the attention of the reader... and secondly, due to my identification with him as an SA Expat residing in Australasia. 
I look forward to having the privilege of meeting Barry across the NZ/Oz 'ditch' (The Tasman) some fine day.. Ready steady Go !... :)

Barry Levy is a former South African journalist who moved with his Australian wife and two children to Australia in 1984, because of their abhorrence of apartheid. In 2004 Levy had his first novel published –Burning Bright, a story of young love, hate and child abuse, set against the apartheid years of late seventies South Africa. 
The book was also published in Italy.  Levy's second book, 
As If! (Interactive Press, 2008), is a harsh, realistic yet compassionate depiction of life on the streets for Australian kids. 

Other publications include The Glazer Kidnapping, the true story of one of the kidnappers involved in the world's biggest kidnap of its time, which took place in South Africa in the mid sixties; a short story, "The Promised Land", published in At the Rendezvous of Victory, a compilation under the title of principal author and Nobel Literature Prize laureate Nadine Gordimer; and "The Souls from Nowhereland", a chapter in the recent compilation,
 Should I Stay or Should I Go, which highlights the ongoing dilemma and argument around emigration for 
South Africans.

Levy has been a winner of the Australian Human Rights Award for Journalism - for a multiple series of stories on child sex abuse, domestic violence and homelessness; a winner of the Anning Barton Memorial Award for Outstanding Journalism (Central Queensland) – for a series of stories on child sex abuse (incest-rape), and a Walkley Awards Queensland State finalist – for a series on homelessness.

Shades of Exodus 
Barry Levy
Levy's newly released novel - Shades of Exodus,  revolves around the true story of a South African family who flee the violence of South Africa only to fall victim to a vicious and bloody crime in Australia.
Once an outspoken critic of apartheid, David Levinrad now longs to return to the transformed 'rainbow nation.' His yearnings, heightened through life-changing events, takes us on a journey that tears at the soul and exposes our common humanity.
Is paradise always what it seems? And is there ever a way back? 

Some of the Reviews which give insight into this man's perceptive and highly relevant work...

Captures the emotions of loss and rebuilding with poetic insight...

SHADES OF EXODUS will resonate with all migrants – South Africans in particular – who have battled with themes of meaning, relationships, sense of place, and personal identity as they have moved to new worlds.

– Dr Robert Schweitzer
Associate Professor of Psychology
Queensland University of Technology
(and a migrant)

Shades of Exodus had elements of being my own autobiography. So many thoughts, sentiments, passions and yearning for the place once called home…..could one ever really feel the lucky country is home? Could one ever feel completely oneself here? These are questions I don't have an answer for?... 
Shades of Exodus has provided an intriguing and heart-warmingly enlightening read mixed with great depth and passion of the pulling forces between what is and what was… and many thoughts that had vaguely transcended my mind were there in printed form… The details and humour describing the personalities and their interaction was quite remarkable and entertaining… but also with the rather confronting but necessary parts of the book, I felt the fear and denial… All in all, congratulations on a deeply significant and most readable book.
– Glenda Fehler

Just wanted to say thank you so much for such a wonderful read! It is a really beautiful story – and very thought-provoking. For me, this is underscored by David Levinrad's story towards the end. I really felt like I was in his head and following his stream of thoughts. "Bladdy" well done!
– Angelique Oltvolgyi

Congratulations. The book you have written truly conveys the complexities of feelings we, immigrants, feel here in Brisbane. Written with total objectivity, and really putting it all out there. A really good read!
– Anita Wurfl

Themes of exile and longing for home have been elements of literature as far back as Homer and The Odyssey. And world history has been fundamentally shaped by the often forced exodus of people from their homeland and displacement around the globe, such as the Jewish Diaspora and, in the nineteenth century, the Irish emigration to the New World of America and Australia.
Shades of Exodus explores these themes in the context of a contemporary displacement, that of white South Africans leaving their country before and after the end of apartheid.
David Levinrad is a South African journalist so disturbed by the systematic violence and corruption of the apartheid regime that he emigrates to Queensland with his Australian wife Penny and their two young children in the mid-1980s. There they build a new and reasonably contented life in the suburbs of Brisbane, but the vitality and pulse of life in his homeland calls to something visceral within David, such that the urge to return and contribute to the rebuilding of South Africa becomes a vital force whose urgency he finds both difficult to suppress and to communicate to others.
He comes into contact with more recent South African émigrés, families who have fled what they see as the entrenched problems of AIDS, poverty and violence that have been unleashed in the wake of end of white rule. The clash between these different perspectives is underscored by two acts of brutal and murderous violence: one in South Africa that has influenced the departure of one family; the second involving the daughter of one of the emigrant families in suburban Brisbane, suggesting that such crimes can happen anywhere.

This is an important novel of interest not only to emigrant families but all of us who have been influenced in one way of another by the displacement of people into alien environments. The language is richly poetic in conveying the vital forces and connections that give one a sense of belonging. The struggles of the characters to make sense of their experiences and relate them to others make for a compelling narrative. Shades of Exodus constitutes a highly recommended contribution to a universal quest.
– Dr Geoff Danaher, Idiom 23 (Central Queensland University)

 If I had your gift for writing I would put into words how I feel, but I can only say, WOW, WHEW, this book is amazingly written and so close to the bone....– Amanda Shrock

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