Sunday, September 23, 2012

A Woman of Independence

As part of my commitment to the 2012 Australia Women Writers Challenge, I picked up A Woman of Independence by Kirsty Sword Gusmao.
   Kirsty is the young Australian wife of the first president of the world's newest country - East Timor.
   This was a very informative book - I was interested in it intellectually, but I had to force myself to read it. Unfortunately, I didn't find the story-telling to be very engaging. The reason I persisted is because my husband was in the INTERFET peace keeping force in 1999, and again involved in 2006 during the second presidential election.

The book was published in 2003, so it didn't detail the years of Kirsty and Xanana Gusmao's lives during Xanana's presidency. I would have liked to know how they dealt with the problems in 2006, and Xanana's transition from president to prime minister.
   I was more interested in Xanana's story, and that of his imprisonment. The relationship that developed between Kirsty and Xanana (whilst he was in an Indonesian prison) was interesting, with their struggles and their joint passion and drive for East Timor. Now that the country has settled, I'd also like to know how their family has grown and what their sons want to make of their lives.
   The book also awoke a desire in me to visit East Timor as a tourist, and try to help their country in some small way. Maybe in the next couple of years I will get there for a holiday.

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