A contemporary fable, this book shows that when life seems dull and cruel, it is the power of the natural world, and our ability to imagine it, that can bring the wonder back into living. In the village of Stellanuova in southern Italy in the 1700s, a Franciscan monk, Fra Ionio, becomes known as the Patron Saint of Eels when he brings a distraught fisherman's yearly catch of eels back from the dead in the village market. When the inhabitants of Stellanuova emigrate to Australia in the post-World War II migrations of the 1940s, 50s and 60s, the immortal saint is left looking down on an abandoned town. To fulfil his calling, he decides in heaven to migrate with his countrymen and now looks down on the southern Australian state of Victoria, where he intercedes in matters relating to eels.
Winner of Australian Literature Society Gold Medal 2006.