WHEN YOU SEE THE EMU IN THE SKY: My Journey of Self-Discovery in the Outback by Elizabeth Fuller

WHEN YOU SEE THE EMU IN THE SKY: My Journey of Self-Discovery in the Outback

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Though cast against the brilliant red tones of the Australian outback, this slim volume tells a monotone tale of self-discovery. Fuller (Nima: A Sherpa in Connecticut, 1984, etc.) stalks the spiritual, but her language is too thin, and her discoveries are trite. When her off-Broadway play flops miserably and she finds herself tormented by the imminent death of a dear friend suffering from AIDS, she takes to the road with her teenage son in search of revelation in the Australian outback. Fuller rents a house that she soon fears is inhabited by a ghost. Good fortune and abiding spirits bring her to Max Eulo, a warm-hearted Aborigine who leads her into his world and the discovery of the Aboriginal ancestor whose spiritual home she now inhabits. He teaches her to put her ear to the ground and listen for messages from a more meaningful realm. She consults Ouija boards, tracks the calls of rare birds, indulges in deep-breathing exercises, and listens for the plaintive sound of the didgeridoo pipe. At last, a spirit doctor announces that ""the spiritual gateway has been lifted for her to enter."" Along the way, Fuller rediscovers her profoundly midwestern upbringing, and the depth of her pain over the death of her first husband and her friend's battle with AIDS. She abandons the confines of her Connecticut home, frees her son from blue-bubble-gum and B-Ball madness, and watches for the sun rising in the outback. It is a long way to travel, and harder still to know how much she has learned because of the outback, Max Eulo, or simply the functions of distance and time. While the itinerant melody of the didgeridoo haunts this tale, one can never hear it quite clearly enough to call it genuinely original.

Pub Date: Sept. 1st, 1997
Page count: 224pp
Publisher: Morrow