An Italian Down Under

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An Italian Down Under

This is an amazingly honest and true account of the experiences of an Italian woman that takes her from her hometown of Stresa in northern Italy to Sydney and back again. Her childhood proved to be loveless, and after enduring a very difficult time with her family who treated her unjustly in favour of her other siblings, Cloris gets married to escape the intolerable situation at home. With her husband, Pierantonio, and their young son, Patrizio, they decide to immigrate to Australia. In December 1968 they set sail on the cruiser liner Guglielmo Marconi. Two weeks after their arrival, Cloris becomes ill with viral hepatitis and is bedridden for three months. This uncertain start Down Under fills her with misgivings about the future. This was not her only problem, unfortunately Pierantonio shows himself for what he was: a crude, selfish man, that even the birth of their second son, Damiano, did nothing to improve his behaviour. In actual fact her husband pushes her into the arms of a family friend. In the end it goes terribly wrong and Cloris leaves them both, suffering terribly. She informs her family in Italy of her desire to return home to re-start her life, but they do not support her and she realises she will have to carry on in Australia, alone with her two boys.

Two years later she marries for a second time, but her new husband, Federico, turns out to be a ruthless, calculating man, who has wed her only to obtain permanent residency in Australia. Federico’s job takes him to Lithgow, two and a half hours drive west of Sydney, so Cloris reluctantly relocates to the Blue Mountains where she opens a successful Italian restaurant in Blackheath. Federico’s lust for money eventually forces her to close the restaurant and, after three years of marriage, she divorces him. During all this time Cloris works tirelessly to support herself and her family as her husbands never forked out a cent to support her or her boys. While in Blackheath, a towering Prussian named Shultz manages to drag her into a relationship. She moves back to Sydney and eighteen months later to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland, but Schultz is not the man he professes to be; while in Europe the deceiving man mets another woman and elopes with her. When Cloris finds out, she breaks up with him.

Cloris returns to Italy several times, but her sister is full of malignant hatred, persecuting her like she always did in the past and making her life a misery. Her younger brother, a superficial and inept man, runs after women instead of looking after his wife and children, and her father doesn’t seem to care at all about his ‘second-rate daughter’ whom he treats with contempt and nastiness. Her mother, who Cloris had reconciled shortly before her death, was the only one she cared about, so she decides that she will never go back to Italy for her remaining family again.

While living in Noosa Heads, Cloris meets Jeremy, an Australian, a member of AA and bankrupt builder with not a cent to his name. They become involved romantically and set up a construction company. Two years after, having used up all her money, Jeremy introduces her to an American, another AA, who invests in the company but she is fraudulently voted out of the partnership. The partners do not want to play honestly for the future of the company. Jeremy then serves her with two false protection orders to put smoke in the eyes of everyone. She should have served it to him as in the last stages of their relashionship he had attacked her viciuously and cruelly. The partners do this for not repaying any money to Cloris, and through their dishonest dues she loses the lot. Throughout the many court cases that follow, Cloris begins to feel that everything she has read over the years about corruption and racism in Australia is true. A magistrate even states in court that ‘she is “Eyetalian” of Latin origins and therefore unreliable.’ Even with all the documented evidence Cloris brings to court, and all the help from her solicitor, the magistrate does not even want to see it. She never wins in the courts in Queensland.

At the same time, Cloris’s father, a wealthy and ruthless man who had tried to rape her when she was seventeen, dies tragically. Her brother and sister plot to exclude her from her inheritance. She now faces more expense to battle her siblings in the courts in Italy, but she does not get a fair deal out of the inheritance money. Cloris no longer believes in justice, and although she hasn’t got anybody in Italy worth of calling “family” anymore, and for all the tragic recent happenings Down Under, she decides her to leave Australia for good. So in the year 2000, after thirty-two years in Australia, Cloris leaves behind her house, sells all her furniture, says goodbye to her sons, to her many friends and to her beloved cat Ciccino and, and with some apprehension, sets out to return to Italy where she writes her memoirs.

“A smooth and enthralling story from beginning to end, that stuns the reader with the seemingly endless train of events Cloris faces with the spirit of a true Aries.  The story of a woman who has been seeking love ever since she was a little girl, but who never found any, nor in her family, nor in the men who came into her life. Cloris has the exceptional ability to make the reader live and feel her and the other protagonist’s emotions.  She brings people, situations and places to life.  Her outstanding observation and descriptive talent will give you a profound insight into people’s thinking and behaviour. She takes the reader around the world into her trips always tinted with a tragic comic vein. A gripping, desperate, cheerful, melancholy, lively story, where every single chapter is as insightful as it is true.”

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