Stillpoint

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Overview

Sam Barsby tries to free himself from the grip of recurring dreams-dreams filled with birds, semingly calling him on a mission. Shaken by a near-fatal heart attack, after a sixty-four year absence from his roots on a small Vermont dairy farm in New England and, shortly before his eightieth birthday, Sam leaves his adopted home in Australia and returns to the place of his boyhood. He finds himself standing in the family cemetery situated on a grassy knoll near a small body of water. Gravesites dot the small ...
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Overview

Sam Barsby tries to free himself from the grip of recurring dreams-dreams filled with birds, semingly calling him on a mission. Shaken by a near-fatal heart attack, after a sixty-four year absence from his roots on a small Vermont dairy farm in New England and, shortly before his eightieth birthday, Sam leaves his adopted home in Australia and returns to the place of his boyhood. He finds himself standing in the family cemetery situated on a grassy knoll near a small body of water. Gravesites dot the small rolling hill. Sam is surprised to find the graveyard infested with geese-like the geese he sees in his dreams. And, he sees his father's gravestone for the first time. The current owner of the old homestead discovers Sam heaped over in the cemetery and becomes a link to the old man's past and future.

The setting of the story is in the twentieth century and moves into the twenty-first, tracing Sam's life. WW1, the Great Depression, WW II and the terror of September 11th deeply impact his family and him. HIs alcohol-abusing father, Lewis, grief-stricken mother, Julia, older brother, Timmy, and shorthaired pup, Shortie, imprint deep wounds on Sam's youth. Sam escapes his beset home-life, leaving behind his father and Auntie Katharine, his only remaining family. He rides the rails during the Depression, works in a forest camp in the Pacific Northwest and serves in the South Pacific in the Second World War. After his service, Sam immigrates to a small town in Australia to farm the Northern rivers of New South Wales. Work, love and loss keep him locked in his unresolved pain until, in his maturity, he is called by his dreams to transformation.

It is an indigenous man in Australia, Mono, who brings Sam to a stillpoint in his journey and Sam experiences a life-impacting change. Now, images of pelicans come to him and the symbolism of this intriguing bird tie together pieces of Sam's path. Ultimately, tragedy, then forgiveness, brings Sam to new awareness and conection with his life's meaning.

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780533147823
  • Publisher: Vantage Press, Inc.
  • Publication date: 10/28/2005
  • Pages: 250
  • Product dimensions: 5.44 (w) x 8.06 (h) x 0.69 (d)

Read an Excerpt

"Some might call it a stillpoint in one's life, others a pause in time-a soulful replenishment, rebirth. Without it, there can be no quality of life. With it, life becomes what it's called to be...like the quarter rest in music, it provides silence beofre sound. A stillpoint it the comma in the middle of one's life, sleep before awakening."

Sam Barsby knows full well the meaning of the words above, but it seemingly took him a lifetime to achieve such understanding. As the main character in Stillpoint, Sam experience all that life has to offer, from joyous ecstacy to downtrodden despair, and comes away knowing a deep sense of personal connection so many fail to achieve.

Through the author's vivid imagery and stellar storytelling, readers are immediately drawn to Sam as a sympathetic and sensitive human being. There is early compassion for the loss of loved ones in Sam's young life, just as there is a growth of strength and maturity as Sam experiences war, love and one other very special event that will change his life forever!

Kowal's first novel is a delicious combination of etheral inspiration mixed with "down-home" and " down under" appeal. From Sam's humble beginnings in rural St. Albans Bay, Vermont to his adopted home in picturesque Mullumbimby, Australia and places in between, the story embraces an ordinary man's journey in extraordinary times. One cannot help but come away from this heartfelt tale without the overwhelming desire to seek out one's own "stillpoint," and thereby feel much better for having done so.

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Sort by: Showing 1 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted March 23, 2005

    Touching and Heartfelt Giving an Appreciation for Life.

    I just can't say enough about this book. Great for all ages. Very easy reading...a book you can't put down. Nice blend of reality and historical events, beautifully written with descriptions that make you feel like you are there. This book gives a touching, heart-felt appreciation of life and family, of hardships and friendships, of nature and peace. Very possibly the best book I have ever read. An excellent 'first' book by this author; I can't wait to read more from her. The title is perfect: Stillpoint...a pause in life to reflect and complete your journey.

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