‘I’ve just finished reading Rosa and loved it. I wasn’t sure how I’d find it as I’m not usually a fan of nonfiction. But with the term “with licence”, I guess it changes it from true nonfiction to a much more engaging read for me. I was interested, engaged, moved and invested in both the historical and Australian content.’ –Emmy
I write to entertain. ‘Life and times’? Shall we delve deeply into world history, cataclysmic events, or reflect on a dystopian future? I think not. Let me open a small window into some unfamiliar scenes of Anglo-Australian-Jewish life. Rosa’s journey starts in London and the finish line for this ‘ten-pound Pom’ will be Melbourne. Enjoy!
As British as Earl Grey tea, ‘Rosa’ has spent most of her life in Melbourne. Her children and grandchildren are all Australian-born, as was Alan, her writer husband. But Rosa is hesitant about an unconditional commitment to Vegemite, mateship and the ANZAC legend; she remains a perennial migrant, often amused by her memories, here presented with a deliberate overlay of lies and licence.
Her family’s history is nearer to Dickens than the shtetls of Eastern Europe; Rosa herself recalls Dunkirk and the Blitz. Beyond the conservatism of 1950s London that she escaped, Rosa flings open the windows and doors to invite the reader into her Anglo-Australian-Jewish family. She refrains from delving into deep psychological examinations of what it means to be an only child, an only grandchild, a reluctant Jewish teenager, and muse to a man whose terrible childhood scarred him for life; the ‘clues’ are all there for the curious reader to discover.
Have just finished reading “Rosa” and am writing to tell you what a great read it has been. In fact, since starting to read it, I could not put it down! You have a very engaging style and it fully came out in this book. You set out to give this Eastern European-centric community the flavour of your original Anglo Jewry atmosphere, something submerged by the post war Jewish influx, which took over the existing leadership and atmosphere … congratulations on bringing to us all such a lucid personal and historical account. –Sam Moshinsky
About the author: Ros Collins’ first book, Solly’s Girl, was published in 2015 as a companion piece to Alva’s Boy written by her late husband, Alan. Like him, she strongly believes in the power of humorous literature; any serious intent is clothed with a self-deprecating wit. Professionally, Ros Collins was a TAFE college librarian. In later years she was director of Makor Jewish Community Library (now the Lamm Jewish Library of Australia). She is interested in writing about Anglo-Australian-Jews, often overlooked in fiction and memoir. ‘We have an 1830s convict in our family – aristocracy!’ Ros shares her 1928 bayside cottage with Roxie, a very British corgi with republican tendencies.