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Ma, a ninety-nine-year-old Australian aboriginal shaman, manages a Sydney cafe for lonely outback refugees. Each evening, Ma or one of her quirky patrons, shares their tale. "Tales from Ma's Watering Hole" is a linked story collection that weaves together nostalgic themes relating to lands lost, families scattered and the joyful support found in human companionship. Ma, a ninety-nine-year-old Australian aboriginal shaman, manages a Sydney cafe for lonely outback refugees. Each evening, Ma or one of her quirky patrons, shares their tale. "Tales from Ma's Watering Hole" is a linked story collection that weaves together nostalgic themes relating to lands lost, families scattered and the joyful support found in human companionship.


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Ma, a ninety-nine-year-old Australian aboriginal shaman, manages a Sydney cafe for lonely outback refugees. Each evening, Ma or one of her quirky patrons, shares their tale. "Tales from Ma's Watering Hole" is a linked story collection that weaves together nostalgic themes relating to lands lost, families scattered and the joyful support found in human companionship. Ma, a ninety-nine-year-old Australian aboriginal shaman, manages a Sydney cafe for lonely outback refugees. Each evening, Ma or one of her quirky patrons, shares their tale. "Tales from Ma's Watering Hole" is a linked story collection that weaves together nostalgic themes relating to lands lost, families scattered and the joyful support found in human companionship.

57 review for Tales from Ma's Watering-Hole

  1. 4 out of 5

    Joe Ponepinto

    Ninety-nine-year-old Ma left the outback and opened a café in Sydney, but she never gave up the ways of her aboriginal beginnings. In these short fictions the shaman woman hosts nightly gatherings for tourists, the curious and the down and out, during which she encourages them to tell their stories as a way of creating a link between modern, mainstream Australian culture and the ancient one of her forbearers. She practices a traditional form of healing, built around the values of community/tribe Ninety-nine-year-old Ma left the outback and opened a café in Sydney, but she never gave up the ways of her aboriginal beginnings. In these short fictions the shaman woman hosts nightly gatherings for tourists, the curious and the down and out, during which she encourages them to tell their stories as a way of creating a link between modern, mainstream Australian culture and the ancient one of her forbearers. She practices a traditional form of healing, built around the values of community/tribe, recognizing that the present is empty without the foundation of the past. Her attitude, in this case from the aboriginal point of view, reflects the national reconciliation that has occurred in Australia over the last couple of decades. There are lessons in Kay Linden’s tales, but no hatreds or prejudices exposed during Ma’s story-telling sessions. Ma, though, has not been untouched by modernization. She understands the pressures and demands of current culture. Although Ma eschews technology and commerce, she doesn’t run from them, and sometimes employs those modern methods, such as when she agrees to the construction of a cement monument, Uluru, mimicking the original from her desert childhood, to placate her desire to return to her roots. But always she sees people in the old way, peering through their 21st century, culturally induced obsessions, to find the human being at their core. As a shaman, she seeks to purify the people around her, to stop them from wandering too far from their real selves. In the best of these tales, Ma abandons her city surroundings for the outback. It’s one thing to talk about ancient values and practices in the context of city life, but quite another to experience them firsthand. In “A Shaman Goes Walkabout,” Linden takes Ma on a reinvigorating trek back to her roots in the great desert: "On walkabout from the café, tired of city lights, Ma catches a bus from the downtown station to the end of the line. Here, Ma runs with emus through the red desert dust and eats bush cucumbers in full fruit. After absorbing electricity from lightning, she flies with the magpies to places of desire, waterholes of power, canyons where cave dwellers recorded their first Dreamings. She descends to a land inhabited by tiny rock sprites who bow to the shaman’s journey and beg to honor her wish. For inspiration, Ma requests the creation of a sand painting." In returning to Ma’s origins, to the land of Dreamings, Linden prods readers to look beyond the boundaries of their cities and lives, and to remember, as ancient cultures do, that existence is a progression of generations, each tied to the others, rather than the urges of individuals that seems so common today. (Previously posted on The Los Angeles Review - http://redhen.org/losangelesreview/bo...)

  2. 5 out of 5

    Lori

    I would give this an almost four.Could not resist trying out a book with a kangaroo on the cover. "Ma's Watering Hole" is a place owned by "Ma" a 99 year old Australian Aborigine Shaman. Ma left the outback to open this restaurant. She is still devoted to her life growing up on the outback. She tells the customers stories about the outback and encourages others to bring stories of their own. this book is comprised of those stories. Some from Ma herself, others from her siblings Possum and Midget I would give this an almost four.Could not resist trying out a book with a kangaroo on the cover. "Ma's Watering Hole" is a place owned by "Ma" a 99 year old Australian Aborigine Shaman. Ma left the outback to open this restaurant. She is still devoted to her life growing up on the outback. She tells the customers stories about the outback and encourages others to bring stories of their own. this book is comprised of those stories. Some from Ma herself, others from her siblings Possum and Midget. I enjoyed reading these stories that were told at the Watering-hole. Some were humorous, others tragic,some charming. I liked some more than others. An enjoyable read for the most part.

  3. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer-Eve Workman

    I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. The stories were quite colorful and enjoyable, but... I just couldn't really "get into" it. I enjoyed the premise of the book and the main character "Ma," was very uniquely written. I've read most of the reviews for this book on here and on Amazon and people seem to really love it. I just can't really say that I absolutely LOVED it but I didn't hate it either. I am going to give it 4 stars because as I said it was very well written and unique but as my gr I won this book in a Goodreads Giveaway. The stories were quite colorful and enjoyable, but... I just couldn't really "get into" it. I enjoyed the premise of the book and the main character "Ma," was very uniquely written. I've read most of the reviews for this book on here and on Amazon and people seem to really love it. I just can't really say that I absolutely LOVED it but I didn't hate it either. I am going to give it 4 stars because as I said it was very well written and unique but as my grandma would say... Not really my cup of tea!

  4. 5 out of 5

    Garth Bealman

    Excellent book! Well written, original all around gem. Characters come to life in vivid tales by Ma. Finding books and treasures like this is why I love Goodreads. A++!! HIGHLY RECOMMENDED!!

  5. 4 out of 5

    Tracy

    "The police in Australia voice concern over tourists who file into Ma's house and file out wearing only body piercings and stripes. One officer voiced his complaint on the front page of The Rattle Nest Newspaper: "They could catch their death of cold", he said. Later, the officer visited Ma to see for himself, and he left dressed in black cockatoo feathers and red paint. A reporter wrote that he saw Ma wearing a man's police uniform the next day. I won this book on a Goodreads giveaway and have "The police in Australia voice concern over tourists who file into Ma's house and file out wearing only body piercings and stripes. One officer voiced his complaint on the front page of The Rattle Nest Newspaper: "They could catch their death of cold", he said. Later, the officer visited Ma to see for himself, and he left dressed in black cockatoo feathers and red paint. A reporter wrote that he saw Ma wearing a man's police uniform the next day. I won this book on a Goodreads giveaway and have been reading this book to my children over a period of a few weeks as we are currently trying to absorb everything 'Aussie' and are also reading stories about the Dreamtime. It was very funny at times and we did enjoy it, although it isn't the kind of book or story that grabs you immediately and makes you skip meals just so you can finish it. An enjoyable light read and very informative.

  6. 4 out of 5

    Ira Therebel

    These are short stories about Ma, a 99 year old shaman who opened a cafe in Sidney. People come to her cafe and tell their stories. And these stories as well a what happens to Ma is what we get to read here. It is written in a similar way that old native stories are written but at the same time it takes place in our time Some of the stories are great, some not so much but I still enjoyed this book. I never have been to Australia but this book makes me feel some sort of special charm from there. W These are short stories about Ma, a 99 year old shaman who opened a cafe in Sidney. People come to her cafe and tell their stories. And these stories as well a what happens to Ma is what we get to read here. It is written in a similar way that old native stories are written but at the same time it takes place in our time Some of the stories are great, some not so much but I still enjoyed this book. I never have been to Australia but this book makes me feel some sort of special charm from there. While it doesn't take place in outback there is a lot about it. I loved the cover! It is so warm, but it doesn't make me want to eat a soup out kangaroo tail!

  7. 4 out of 5

    Cheryl

    This is a really good book with wonderful characters who tell great stories at Ma's cafe. The characters come to life on each page and I felt that somewhere in Australia these people really did exist and wished they did. Ma is a 99 year old shaman who runs a cafe in the city with the help of her sister Possum and her brother Midget. The customers are other outback refugees and tourists, each night someone tell a story of the outback. These stories tell of lost heritage,land and family. But the s This is a really good book with wonderful characters who tell great stories at Ma's cafe. The characters come to life on each page and I felt that somewhere in Australia these people really did exist and wished they did. Ma is a 99 year old shaman who runs a cafe in the city with the help of her sister Possum and her brother Midget. The customers are other outback refugees and tourists, each night someone tell a story of the outback. These stories tell of lost heritage,land and family. But the stories are filled with love and hope. If only we could all go to ma's cafe, what a great time. This was a Goodreads first read.

  8. 4 out of 5

    Dawn

    I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. "Tales from Ma's Watering Hole" has left me with one word running through my brain - "surreal". That is what I hoped for. Kaye Linden provides entertainment and enjoyment with her host of characters that will leave you chuckling over their antics. But there was also an underlying sadness for me. Read this book - see if you spot it too. I received a copy of this book for free through Goodreads First Reads. "Tales from Ma's Watering Hole" has left me with one word running through my brain - "surreal". That is what I hoped for. Kaye Linden provides entertainment and enjoyment with her host of characters that will leave you chuckling over their antics. But there was also an underlying sadness for me. Read this book - see if you spot it too.

  9. 5 out of 5

    Ashley

    I received Tales from Ma's Watering Hole as a part of Goodreads First Read program. This is a really delightful book. The characters are charming, the book is well written and has a very natural feeling flow as you transition from one of Ma's tales to another. The character of Ma seemed kind of larger than life in some of the book which is why I really enjoyed reading the story When Ma Needed Healing where Ma is vulnerable. I received Tales from Ma's Watering Hole as a part of Goodreads First Read program. This is a really delightful book. The characters are charming, the book is well written and has a very natural feeling flow as you transition from one of Ma's tales to another. The character of Ma seemed kind of larger than life in some of the book which is why I really enjoyed reading the story When Ma Needed Healing where Ma is vulnerable.

  10. 5 out of 5

    Mary

    Ma is a character we can all relate to and at the same time wish we had her magic. She teaches respect for the earth and all its creatures, but she doesn't preach. Ma has a sense of humor and guides us through the outback with tales that cast a spell, all mysteriously connected yet each with its unique story. Ma is a character we can all relate to and at the same time wish we had her magic. She teaches respect for the earth and all its creatures, but she doesn't preach. Ma has a sense of humor and guides us through the outback with tales that cast a spell, all mysteriously connected yet each with its unique story.

  11. 4 out of 5

    Larry

    I received this book as a First Read award. I immensely enjoyed this collection of tales from an aboriginal view. If you like native american stories, then you will like this collection of tales. I recognize that this will not be a book for everyone, but if you like tales that contain a story or explain an event, then you will like this book.

  12. 5 out of 5

    Carmen

    Good Book. Not something I would usually purchase, glad I read it.

  13. 5 out of 5

    Clare

    As usually happens when I read a short story collection, some of the stories grabbed my attention more than others. All the stories in this book center around Ma's Watering Hole, a tavern in a city in Australia. The owner is a 99 year old aboriginal woman who still follows the ways of her ancestors even though she is living in an urban area. Steeped in aboriginal lore and customs, some of the stories carry an otherworldly essence while other themes can be related to on a more personal level. Str As usually happens when I read a short story collection, some of the stories grabbed my attention more than others. All the stories in this book center around Ma's Watering Hole, a tavern in a city in Australia. The owner is a 99 year old aboriginal woman who still follows the ways of her ancestors even though she is living in an urban area. Steeped in aboriginal lore and customs, some of the stories carry an otherworldly essence while other themes can be related to on a more personal level. Strange and bizarre as the tales are, they also show an inclusiveness and exuberance not often found in such succinct stories.

  14. 5 out of 5

    Sharon

    Delightful collection of related stories that include plenty of fanciful fantasy woven among the possibly true basis of each. Ma is 99 years old, an Australian aboriginal shaman, displaced from her native land along with many other tribes and families, living in the city and running a cafe for those of her kind. Evenings find invited storytellers of all kinds, and a loyal crowd gathered to hear them. Readers will enjoy the quirky characters and feel the love and kinship of these people -- and la Delightful collection of related stories that include plenty of fanciful fantasy woven among the possibly true basis of each. Ma is 99 years old, an Australian aboriginal shaman, displaced from her native land along with many other tribes and families, living in the city and running a cafe for those of her kind. Evenings find invited storytellers of all kinds, and a loyal crowd gathered to hear them. Readers will enjoy the quirky characters and feel the love and kinship of these people -- and laugh at their sense of humor. Charming.

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kaye Linden

    By Bruce H. Rogers on July 18, 2013 Format: Paperback "First off, some disclosure: Kaye Linden is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program of the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. I teach fiction writing at NILA, and Kaye was my student. I'm not reviewing this book as a stranger, but instead as someone who saw this collection of stories develop story-by-story and draft-by-draft. Take my review with a grain of salt if you wish. Kaye Linden's stories are richly imagined, crisply written, and By Bruce H. Rogers on July 18, 2013 Format: Paperback "First off, some disclosure: Kaye Linden is a graduate of the Master of Fine Arts program of the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts. I teach fiction writing at NILA, and Kaye was my student. I'm not reviewing this book as a stranger, but instead as someone who saw this collection of stories develop story-by-story and draft-by-draft. Take my review with a grain of salt if you wish. Kaye Linden's stories are richly imagined, crisply written, and worth your time and money. In the title character, Ma, Kaye has created a character who belongs to the urban world as much as the outback, and who reflects not so much aboriginal culture as original culture, the culture each of us invents for our own purposes from the material of the world we happen to have been born into. Come on in for a drink, a story, and a character who makes her own rules and invents her own forms of magic. I love this book." *** *** *** "I bought your book last week as I said I would and was up in the middle of the night last night reading it. I love the stories and characters, and your writing is wonderful. One seldom finds a book where you can create mind pictures from the words. I am transported to Australia and to Ma's back yard and to the outback where the woman went because her child had to be born there. Yours is such a book and I am treasuring each moment." Julie Noble *** *** *** Wayne Ude says: "These are very fine stories which take us inside a contemporary culture most have had no opportunity to experience. Ma is a 99-year-old Australian aborigine shaman, owner of Ma's Watering Hole, a bar and grill in an Australian city. Some of the stories told in this fine book are Ma's, while others are told by or about others who frequent her Watering Hole. These are utterly charming stories, written with a great deal of affection and respect for Ma and her people as they move between an urban and a traditional world "in the bush," as Ma says. Those who love magical realism based in a traditional culture will love this book, as will all those who like good stories, well told. And, like Bruce Holland Rogers, I also saw these stories through several drafts at the Northwest Institute of Literary Arts MFA program. So you may wish to discount this review--but you'll be making a mistake if you miss this book. "

  16. 5 out of 5

    Ann Depp

  17. 4 out of 5

    Skipper Hammond

  18. 4 out of 5

    Bee Pierce

  19. 4 out of 5

    Mandy

  20. 4 out of 5

    Sue

  21. 5 out of 5

    Joan

  22. 5 out of 5

    Kim Chase

  23. 4 out of 5

    Dee

  24. 4 out of 5

    Heather

  25. 5 out of 5

    Marc

  26. 5 out of 5

    Betty

  27. 4 out of 5

    Cecilia Dunbar Hernandez

  28. 5 out of 5

    Sabrina Zohar

  29. 4 out of 5

    Audrey

  30. 4 out of 5

    Shirley Hurley

  31. 5 out of 5

    Tami Nelson

  32. 4 out of 5

    Frederick Rotzien

  33. 5 out of 5

    Laura Dobb

  34. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  35. 4 out of 5

    DEBORAH SHAW

  36. 5 out of 5

    Vikki Sanderson

  37. 4 out of 5

    Teresa Lavender

  38. 5 out of 5

    Marilyn Maroon

  39. 5 out of 5

    Richard Tyler

  40. 4 out of 5

    Margaret scotland

  41. 4 out of 5

    Rhonda

  42. 5 out of 5

    Chris

  43. 4 out of 5

    Julie

  44. 4 out of 5

    Cindy Gates

  45. 4 out of 5

    Sandy Klocinski

  46. 5 out of 5

    Ryan

  47. 4 out of 5

    Xeno

  48. 4 out of 5

    ☕Laura

  49. 5 out of 5

    Maureen Ryan

  50. 4 out of 5

    Mark Slavin

  51. 4 out of 5

    Kim

  52. 5 out of 5

    Karen Clinchard

  53. 4 out of 5

    Pamela

  54. 5 out of 5

    Charlie

  55. 5 out of 5

    Diana Senn

  56. 4 out of 5

    Theresa El-Thomas

  57. 4 out of 5

    Bernadette

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