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Arnold Zable takes the reader on an intimate journey into the lives of people he met on travels over the last forty years. These are tales aching to be told. Tales of hardship, of yearning and of celebration.

From the songs of Arab diva Umm Khultum on the banks of the Tigris to the strains of a young boy playing the violin for his mother in Melbourne, to the swing jazz of the nightclubs and cabarets of 1940s Baghdad, a fisherman playing a flute on the banks of the Mekong, and Paganini in the borderlands of eastern Poland...Music weaves its way through each of these spellbinding stories.

Tales that span the globe, and bring us back to Melbourne to the powerful and heartbreaking story of Amal - her flight from Baghdad, her fears boarding the unseaworthy SIEV X, her survival when it went down, and her desire to have her story told.

Arnold Zable's books include Jewels and Ashes, Cafe Scheherazade, The Fig Tree, Scraps of Heaven and Sea of Many Returns. Arnold is president of the International PEN, Melbourne, and is a human rights advocate.

'In Arnold Zable's resonant new collection, Violin Lessons, we glimpse much and discover truth...Song and instrumental sound are included subtly in each of the stories to arresting effect...This is an edifying book. Basry says her life's purpose is to tell what happened. Zable, through his stories, shows us why we need to listen.' Age

'The depths of human suffering and perseverance are conveyed through memory and music, as Zable travels through hearts and landscapes scarred by war. This book is a wonderfully complex, sad and beautiful read.' Australian Bookseller and Publisher

'A gifted storyteller, Zable unearths the hidden symmetry and arresting images that make these tales sing.' Herald Sun

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