Gillian Clezy

An Inner and Outer Journey

Gillian’s story of both security and upheaval in her childhood also offers us glimpses into how to enable refugee and traumatised children today to emerge into a new life with resilience and hope.

— Rev Canon Dr Colleen O’Reily AM (Melbourne, Australia)

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Cover of SWITCHBACK: An Inner and Outer Journey

This is the first instalment of Gillian Clezy’s memoir.

Focusing on her early childhood and first 20 years of life, it traces both her inner and outer journeys that all began in England, way back on April Fool’s Day 1937.

As a babe in her mother’s arms, and just before the outbreak of World War II, Gillian travelled to Istanbul on the Orient Express.

What follows is a series of eventful and dangerous wartime journeys through Palestine, Egypt, South Africa and the North and South Atlantic Oceans, as the young family tried to flee Turkey and return home.

As Hitler and the Axis forces marched towards the middle east, Gillian and her family managed to slip through the German naval blockade of Britain and eventually found themselves back in a war-torn England - with all its air raids and severe rationing. Her life had indeed become a roller coaster, or Switchback.

Throughout the unfolding story, Gillian shares many of her intense experiences and reflects on their long-term effects, using her expertise as a Jungian analytical psychologist.

These unique experiences include journeys across the sweeping sands of the Sahara; witnessing the devastation of the port of Liverpool after the Battle of Britain; and being bitten by a potentially rabid-monkey in Durban! The innocent depths of a child’s eyes and perspective is all interpreted with Gillian’s profound wisdom and insight.

As well as Gillian’s Jungian theoretical background, this memoir is informed by her ecumenical Christian faith.

The book will prove a delight to both lovers of history and memoirs, but also those with an interest in travel, faith or the works of C. G. Jung.

Poster featuring the Orient Express

Poster featuring the Orient Express

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To whet your appetite, here are the foreword, symbolic preface, introduction and the first chapter.


By Richard Skinner

In this wonderful memoir, Gillian Clezy weaves together three strands: the outward events of her 80+ years, psychological insight and a profound, inclusive religious faith.

Foreword – Richard Skinner

A Symbolic Preface

Plaits can be a metaphor for our growth, both conscious and unconscious.

The hair is an innate part of us. We cannot feel with it, but we can see the results and feel the knots of a wounding yank or a pulled pigtail.

The plaiting requires three equal strands to be intertwined with varying results, but the whole keeps on growing whatever the circumstances in the outer world, which, in turn, may have a strong effect on the outcome of the plaiting process.

A Symbolic Preface


This memoir begins just before WWII although two of its greatest influences were men of the nineteenth century, one from the north of England and the other from Switzerland.


Ch 1: Now and then (1939 and 2013) – Turkey

As I write our world spirals down into another Middle Eastern vortex of confrontation.

I reflect upon my own level of response then and wonder at the wisdom or otherwise of the current repeated visual representations of war and terror on TV.

Ch 1: Now and then (1939 and 2013) – Turkey (extract)


I found the inner journey just as interesting as the outer …
A fascinating read which I’ve happily recommended to others.

E. Hodges (South Australia)

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