The business of growing up starts with distancing ourselves from our parents. It ends (as far as it ever ends) with drawing them close again. Instead of disappointing giants, we recognise them at last as fallible, unique humans beings. We recognise them in ourselves, and so they become real to us …
In the October issue of the Australian Book Review, I write about Raimond Gaita’s new collection of essays, After Romulus, which tackles what he calls the ‘unfinished business’ left after the success of his memoir, Romulus, My Father, and the subsequent film version.
The always-fascinating transition of book to movie is discussed by Gaita, along with his continuing relatonship with his mother and father. ‘Biographies often continue after the person whose life is narrated has died,’ writes Gaita – identifying our attitudes to our parents as markers of our own evolving maturity.
For details of After Romulus and to read the review, see the October 2011 issue or subscribe at ABR.