Wednesday, January 6, 2016

Whitewashed Jacaranda

Diana Polisensky with talk about her book Whitewashed Jacarandas at the Newport Public Library on Saturday, January 9 at 2:00 p.m.

Whitewashed Jacarandas is the first volume of The Umzimtuti Series, a quartet describing the burst of development that took place in Southern Rhodesia between the end of WWII and crisis with Britain over the rise of African Nationalism.

Jobs are scarce after WWII but Doctor Sunny Rubenstein lands an appointment in Southern Africa at a gold mine. Attached to it is the smallest municipality in the world, Umzimtuti. Surgically competent and self sufficient, Sunny anticipates a free rein in this backwater where dread disease is still commonplace. He needs to save his marriage to Mavourneen and overcome the mine management, the hospital matron and the entrenched mayor to bring Umzimtuti into the 20th century.

He decides to stand for council but Mavourneen and the small Jewish community worry that rising hostilities in Palestine against British occupation threaten his chances. Furthermore, King George VI and the Royal Family are due to stop off for afternoon tea at the Railway Park on their Victory Tour. Though Empire is on the wane, fervor for King and Empire have never been higher in Umzimtuti.

Based on real events, this is the story of conflicting values, small minds and big ideals of a Colonial era that is seldom portrayed.

Polisensky was born into a medical family in Southern Rhodesia, during a time when colonialism was still respectable. She crossed the Atlantic as a young woman, ending her career in genetic engineering at Rice University. Now retired, she lives as a recluse on the Oregon coast.

Copies of the book will be available for purchase. This program is free and open to the public.

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