My forthcoming memoir, How to Be Australian, comes out on 1 June from Affirm Press.
When Ashley persuades her new husband Steve to leave snowy Canada and join her for a year Down Under, she looks forward to an easy transition. After all, Australia’s just Canada with more sunshine and strange animals, right?
But they soon discover things aren’t so simple. Steve struggles to settle and Ashley fears he will come to regret both the move and the marriage – especially after she loses her wedding rings on Bondi Beach. Baffled, homesick and increasingly anxious (in a land renowned for ‘no worries’), she is preparing to return to Canada when Steve shockingly announces that he wants to stay in Australia.
For the sake of her marriage and her happiness, Ashley must find an Australia she can belong to: she decides to travel the country, learn its history, decode its cultural quirks and connect with as many residents as she can meet. How to Be Australian is a remarkable memoir, at once familiar and faraway, that shines a fresh, funny and fascinating light onto the country we think we know.
‘As a new Australian, I laughed out loud at the sharpness of Kalagian Blunt’s keen observations, the drollerie of her self-deprecating reflections. But under the humour are strands of serious research and earnest endeavour, a wish to address the questions we ask ourselves. Where do I fit in? How will I find a home for my heart?’
– Vicki Laveau-Harvie, winner of the 2019 Stella Prize
‘This is the kind of book we need right now, it’s funny and heartwarming and I couldn’t put it down, but it also makes you think. … I read it obsessively and have been thinking about it ever since. If you like Bill Bryson, you will love Ashley Kalagian Blunt.’
– Katherine Collette, author of The Helpline
‘Kalagian Blunt’s prose sparkles and fizzes with personality in this relentlessly funny memoir about a migrant’s dual search for home and love that lasts. … A relentlessly astute book that illuminates the restlessness and paradoxical yearnings of the human soul, and renders our familiar Australia oh-so-strange and our strange marriages oh-so-familiar.
– Lee Kofman, author of Imperfect
‘The sort of book I think most Australians would find tremendously fun and endlessly interesting. It is a special sneak preview of how we really are, as though a well-meaning relative had decided to get down in words all of the things they find most confusing – and occasionally infuriating – about us.’
– Walter Mason, author of Destination Saigon
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