To enjoy an interview and review of Mallacoota Time, please visit https://livingartscanberra.com.au/milena-cifali-mallacoota-time-the-lost-summer-of-2020/
To register for the book launch on 26 September, please visit https://fourwinds.iwannaticket.com.au/event/book-launch-mallacoota-time-MjEzOTM
The statistics of Australia’s 2020 summer bushfires tell an awful story. Around 19 million hectares burnt, at least 34 people killed, nearly 2,800 homes destroyed, bird and animal deaths in the billions. But to truly comprehend the scale of devastation we need the personal stories behind these numbers.
That’s what musician, song writer and poet, Milena Cifali, gives us in this heartfelt, illuminating and compelling book.
On New Year’s Eve 2019, the little red cedar cottage in coastal Mallacoota which Milena and her partner, Jim Horvath, called home was one of the many razed. Their beloved menagerie of parrots fell victim, many of their precious musical instruments were destroyed. Milena “cracked into a million pieces”. The world no longer made sense.
Like a bushfire, this multi-layered story swirls in unanticipated directions: devastation, numbing loss, irritation, uncertainty, hope, recovery, wonder at unexpected acts of kindness. Milena writes of returning to the “simple yet powerful realisation: that people are kind. I am awed.”
At the heart of the story is the idea of home. Not four walls, but what they contain: music, friends, love, laughter; the gifts which “amplify our lives”, and which statistics can never convey.
Peter Rodgers, Prize-winning journalist and author
Follow Milena on Instagram @mallacootatimethebook (Instagram.com/mallacootatimethebook) like her Facebook page (www.facebook.com/mallacootatime) for regular updates.
Amidst the background of the recent fires that devastated Australia’s east coast, and then the social dislocation of the Corona virus, Milena Cifali, having lost her home to the fire in Mallacoota has created a meditation on life, loss, and renewal. This is a poignant account of the thoughts and emotions that flare up and affect the soul when ones home has been taken away.
All through this moving account is a yearning for ‘home’ and a search for connection, and always the restorative power of music and story telling.
Jim Sakkas, author and winner Vogel literary prize 1987 (also a Mallacoota resident)