Archive for the ‘Philosophy & Religion’ Category

Catherine Hoffmann’s ‘Across the Burning’

Saturday, July 3rd, 2010

Catherine Hoffmann’s novel, Across the Burning, was released by Indra in October 2010.

Across the Burning is the second novel of the Lia Mendez trilogy, an epic which spans three generations of the Mendez-Kremzier and Heiman families, the paths of their lives intersected by the conflicts and changes which shaped Central Europe in the first half of the twentieth century.

Once enthralled by the grand vistas of travel, Frederic returns to Hungary as Europe is about to burst into the fire of World War II. He, a sharp and worldly non-believer, returns to Rudi Wolf, his soul friend, to Lia Mendez, his only love – his two Jewish friends now married, but still welcoming him as part of their life. With passion and loyalty to each other the three friends face the Nazi occupation.

A story of sensibility and identity, of exile, abandonment and returning to yourself.

Of Exile and Yearning, the first book of the trilogy, was released in September 2009.

ISBN   9781920787189

Literary fiction

pb  234 x 150 mm

290 pp

$29.95 rrp

Special Offer: In Australia, a personal order for one copy with postage included costs $30.00.

Catherine Hoffmann’s ‘Of Exile and Yearning’

Wednesday, December 30th, 2009

Catherine Hoffmann’s novel, Of Exile and Yearning, was released on 15 September 2009 by Indra Publishing.

Of Exile and Yearning is the first book of the Lia Mendez trilogy.

This epic novel is set in Europe from 1910 to the mid-1930s, exploring lives buffeted by the turbulent historical forces transforming central Europe from the last flourish of the Austro-Hungarian empire to the chilling build-up of the Second World War.

Lia and Frederic meet as children, never declare their love for one another, and yet remain inseparably bonded. From the comfort and security of her Jewish home, Lia chooses her own exile, with devastating effect on her family. Her journey is a personal spiritual quest. Frederic, neither Jewish nor religious, emphatically refuses commitment to any ideal or belief. For him, life is for adventure and travel, the quest for enjoyment, and never to be taken too seriously.

For the continuation of Lia and Frederic’s story, wait for Across the Burning, the second book of the trilogy, to be released in mid-2010.

Catherine’s three earlier works, Perilous Journey (1981), Crystal (1987) and Forms of Bliss (1988), were all published by Greenhouse Publications.

ISBN 9781920787172

Literary fiction

pb 233 x 151 mm

451 pages

$34.95 rrp

Special offer: In Australia, a personal order for one copy with postage included costs $35.00.

Review – Does God Live in the Suburbs?

Monday, March 24th, 2008

Does God Live in the Suburbs? by Myer Bloom, 346pp, $(AUD)34.95

In Eureka Street, 28 March 2008

An antidote to blokish certainties on religion

When I think of people talking about religions, I see blokes in  dark suits … They may be for religion in general, or against all religions, or for their own religion and against others. But they are all dead earnest, and succeed in making religion seem both strange and incomprehensible to us amateurs.

So this unpretentious collection of interviews is welcome in its simplicity and artlessness. The editor arranged to have adherents of many religious groups interviewed. They were asked to reply to simple questions about their beliefs, their religious practices and symbols, their ethical framework and their attitude to contemporary Australian society. They are amiable and leisurely in their replies.

The question posed in the title of this book – whether God lives in the burbs – remains hanging. The participants, whether from mainline Churches, Eastern religious traditions or more modern beliefs, are articulate but use words that find common ground with readers unfamiliar with their beliefs. They invite others into a world in which their distinctive beliefs and practices are everyday, not strange. They do a much better job of communicating than most of the professionals in their groups.


These stories of ordinary believers are striking for two apparently conflicting reasons. First, they hang together. People’s faith, religious symbols and daily lives appear to be part of a coherent whole. Whether or not their religious leaders would agree with the large picture they present, they find it persuasive and workable.

… most striking in most of the accounts is that they are open-ended and contain happily unresolved questions. The believers take their faith seriously, but wrestle with how they are to live in a world where their convictions are a minority taste. Almost all of them are positive in the way they see people with different convictions. They recognise that they drift in the same boat.


Although the people interviewed in this book come across as religious people, they appeal more strongly as people you might like to have living next door. They are ordinary people in whose life religious faith and practice seem helpful. They also appear to be good and even nice people, if niceness suggests that their goodness is ordinary.


 In Sydney Morning Herald, 15 March 2008

This overview of 23 religions in Australia uses a simple technique. Find an ordinary person (i.e. not a theologian) who is practising a particular religion, ask them intelligent questions (history, beliefs, values, rituals, meaning of God) about their faith and then transcribe and edit the interview so it represents a fair statement of the religion through the eyes of an ordinary believer.


Bloom offers no commentary and, typically, lets the interviewees range freely across their chosen faith.


This is a rare and unusual insight into religion in modern, secular Australia.



Does God Live in the Suburbs?

Sunday, November 18th, 2007

nullRecent books attacking religion have held the headlines. Now this book presents the beliefs of ordinary people.

  • Interviews with ‘average Australians’ of various faiths – no militants, no theologians and no clerics.
  • In their words, what they believe and how they practise their faith
  • Includes contents, index, and statistics on religions in Australia
  • 70% of Australians declared religious affiliation in the 2006 national census.
  • 81% of Americans and 83.5% of Canadians declared religious affiliation in 2001 national surveys.
  • 71.6% of the British people declared religious affiliation in the 2001 national census.


The interviews in this Australian book provide an indirect insight into the beliefs of ordinary Americans and Britons.

Non-fiction category: Sociology, religion
Paperback;346 pp
First Edition; 210 x 138 mm
ISBN: 9781920787165;  November 2007
RRP/List Price: Australia: $(Aus)34.95; New Zealand: $(NZ)37.95: North America: $(US)30.00

The Author, Myer Bloom, lives in Melbourne, and researches in the sociology of religion. Past work includes:

  • Interviewing survivors in Australia and New Zealand for Steven Spielberg’s Survivors of the Shoah
  • Public lectures at the Melbourne Holocaust Museum
  • Seminars and workshops at Media Teachers’ Conferences
  • Travel and educational pieces in The Age, The Australian, Jewish News, The Herald Sun, Adventure Magazine New Zealand


Yoga, Meditation and the Guru

Thursday, September 13th, 2007

This attractively illustrated book introduces yoga as we in the West generally discover it, and leads us into a deeper knowledge of this method of self awareness.

Yoga, Meditation and the Guru is a journey through yoga from the yoga schools of Australia to the ancient origins in the Indus River Valley, 4,500 years ago. The development of yoga in the ancient texts and practices of India is interwoven with its migration to the West.

Dr Bilimoria takes the reader through the therapeutic aspects of yoga to the philosophical traditions in India. He completes the work with a critical review of yoga as practised in Western society generally, but with emphasis on the Australian experience.

The introduction to the therapeutic value and ethical considerations of yoga bring the reader to the search for a guru, where Dr Bilimoria offers his advice concerning some precautions to take, to avoid questionable practicioners.

Dec 1989 95pp
Paperback, 215 x 138 mm
ISBN 0 9587718 2 0
RRP $aud 14.95

The Author, Dr Purusottama Bilimoria, was educated in New Zealand and Australia and spent some time in India and USA, where he combined research and teaching. He has published in the areas of Indian philosophy, ethics, and comparative religions. His current research interests include post-colonial theory, on which he lectures in Bangalore, India and Melbourne, Australia. 

The Real Desire

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

nullThe Real Desire is a collection of essays, written over the last ten years by Robyn Ferrell, who is now Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. This collection is for the general reader as well as the academic and student.

In The Real Desire, the lenses of art, philosophy, sensuality, and the dreamscape invite us to explore the many guises of desire. A childhood interwoven with Aboriginal history, the banalities of buying real estate, discussion of lingerie, writers and writing, and feminist analysis of some of the great philosophers of the past.

Robyn Ferrell has brought together in one volume essays of discovery – “Pinjarra 1970”; rites of passage – “Kingdom of God” and “Feminine Arts”; disillusionment – “Paris Does Not Exist”; and critical analysis – “Hemingway’s Typewriter” and “Real Desire”.

Robyn combines the clarity of journalistic prose with the rigor of academic analysis. These essays are written for general interest as well as academic investigation.

Before he offered, it had not occurred to me that he could want what I wanted. Or, rather, that he could give this shape to what I wanted; an erotic definition. Because philosophy tutorials had been such a cerebral pleasure, like the cold light of stars. His skin, too, was cool and he continued to have a sylvan quality, only now under the influence of passion he had become a satyr or minor forest deity. from Feminine Arts

In Europe, the place of art in things becomes suddenly much clearer. There, one can see the old power under the new, like the original timber beneath the paint. In the grand architecture, the very place, that overbearing grandeur makes it not possible to avoid consciousness of the necessity of art in a world of an ancien régime; the consolation and subversion, the reflection art provides. from Paris Does Not Exist

They say that a dream of water refers to deep feeling. Aesthetics is that branch of philosophy which considers feeling. It deals with beauty, art, sensibility, passion. It would deal, if it could, with love. It is a quixotic enterprise, like reclaiming land from the sea. The tides of feeling are governed by a force we do not get to command; but we must make some effort for fear of being drowned in it. from Interpretation of Dreams

Paperback, 210 x 138 mm, 196 pp
Literary essays, 1st edition
ISBN: 1 92078701 1
RRP $aud 27-95
ISBN-13 9781920787011

Short-listed NSW Premier’s Prize

The Author
Robyn Ferrell worked as a journalist on the Sydney Morning Herald before doing her doctorate in philosophy at the University of New South Wales. Now she is the Associate Professor of Philosophy at the University of Melbourne. As well as her books, Robyn is the author of numerous academic and journalistic articles.

Robyn is drawn to the creative breadth of essays, which can be didactic or elliptical, erudite or impassioned, and in which you can tell stories, gossip, advance speculations and explore feelings. Robyn has been a student of desire for as long as she has been a writer. The two have always accompanied each other – feeling and analysis, theory and expression, world view and personal opinion.

Robyn’s earlier books
Genres of Philosophy (Ashgate 2002)
Passion In Theory (Routledge 1996)
The Weather and Other Gods (Frances Allen 1990)
Co-editor, Cartographies: Post-structuralism and the Mapping of Bodies and Spaces (Allen & Unwin 1991)

It’s Always Possible

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

Motivation, persistence and perseverance are the distinct traits of determined and dedicated individuals who can make things happen. It’s always possible, even when the task is awesome – transforming the mindset of human beings.

Located in India’s capital, New Delhi, Tihar is one of the largest prisons in the world. Within a prison complex of over 200 acres are housed over 9,700 inmates – men, women, adolescents, children; Indians and foreigners. They comprise unconvicted alleged offenders, convicts and remandees. Tihar was a limping, languishing institution, condemned by the media, and its inmates were isolated from the community, exploited, used and abused, yet ‘housed’.

Dr Kiran Bedi was appointed Inspector General of Tihar Prison in 1993. She brought about fundamental changes, giving a human face to the administrative structure and creating an exemplary system covering every possible aspect of prison management. The whole objective was to collectively and individually manage the transition from a moribund system to a responsive and sensitive administration. Hence her efforts unfolded the process of reformation involving prison administration, prisoners and the community, toward one common goal – Correction through a collective approach.

Dr Bedi’s account is enhanced by input from the prisoners themselves, expressing their feelings in letters and sketches, in petitions and poetry. This book is a graphic portrayal of an holistic process of conversion, a metamorphosis from criminality to humanity, achieved within a restrictive legal framework.

Oct 1999, 400pp
Paperback, 231 x 155 mm
ISBN 0 9585805 3 7
RRP $aud 27.95
ISBN-13 9780958580533

The Author
Dr Kiran Bedi was the first woman police officer in India to become Inspector General of Prisons, when she was put in charge of Tihar, to administer the predominantly male prison, the largest prison in the Asia-Pacific region. Her experience and expertise as a police officer include 26 years of tough yet responsive and interactive policing in different functions throughout India – District policing, Police administration, Traffic control, Narcotics control, and Anti-terrorist operations. Subsequently, she was central to the radical reforms in Tihar, where the focus before she took control, had been merely keeping people locked away from society. She achieved the reforms through her radically humanitarian approach to managing such an institution.

Having earned the reputation of a police officer with a difference, she has represented India at the United Nations, in USA, European and Asian forums on drug abuse, drug trafficking, prison reform, and women’s issues. Recipient of various awards and honours, she has received the Police Medal for Gallantry; the Norway-based Asia Region Award for Work in Prevention of Drug Abuse; the prestigious Ramon Magsaysay Award in 1994, referred to as the Asian Nobel Prize, and in 1997, the Swiss-German Joseph Beuys Award for Holistic and Innovative Management.

From the Murray to the Sea

Sunday, August 5th, 2007

The History of Catholic Education in the Ballarat Diocese

Published by: Catholic Education Office, Ballarat & Indra Publishing
Distributed by: Rainbow Book Agencies Tel: 03 9481 6611 Fax: 03 9481 2371
Over 80 illustrations Footnotes & Bibliography Index

Published to celebrate the one hundred and fiftieth anniversary of Catholic Education in the Diocese of Ballarat, this book presents the history of the Catholic education system in the Diocese from early settlement to the present day. It also provides particular insight into the history of settlement by a large proportion of the early population of western Victoria.The history traces the development of the Catholic school system, achieved through the collaboration of bishops and priests, members of religious orders and the laity.

The passing years brought new opportunities and new challenges, which were met with the same cooperative effort, so necessary in the early days of development and which ensures that Catholic education continues to flourish throughout the Diocese. While the overall picture presented is one of success through hard work, this transparent well-researched history also presents the pitfalls and disappointments, the disputes and failures, which are only to be expected in such a challenging enterprise.

May 2004, 184pp
Hardcover, 260 x 210 mm
ISBN: 1 92078709 7
Non-fiction: First Edition
RRP $aud 49-95
ISBN-13 9781920787097

The Author,Jill Blee, has a BA and an MA in history from Macquarie University, an MA in writing from the University of Western Sydney, and a PhD in History from the University of Ballarat. Her interests are principally in Irish and Irish-Australian history and literature and both have featured in her own writing. Over many years her attention has been focussed on Ballarat and the Irish migrants who settled there during and after the goldrushes of the 1850s.

Jill’s three novels published by Indra all have an Irish flavour – The Pines Hold Their Secrets, Brigid and The Liberator’s Birthday. The first concerns an Irish convict wrongly banished to Norfolk Island; the second is set in Ireland during the Irish Potato Famine, and the third focuses on a day in the life of an Irish family on the Ballarat goldfields. Jill’s From the Murray to the Sea, Indra, 2004, is a comprehensive history of the Catholic education system in the Diocese of Ballarat, Australia.