We all know that people have come from all over the world to live in Australia. ‘Where are you from?’ is a normal conversational gambit, and we’re not surprised to hear ‘Germany’ or ‘South Africa’ or ‘Indonesia’ in response, though I must admit I blinked to hear ‘Bhutan’ recently. But we know rather less about the number of people who leave Australia to live all over the world. Certainly, many of us have friends or family living overseas but few of us would guess that as many as one million Australians live abroad.
Our Global Face, subtitled ‘Inside the Australian Diaspora,’ looks at this phenomenon. Thirty contributors explore everything from bringing up Aussie-born children in a Greek village, to the logistics of holding down simultaneous jobs in Canberra and USA, to reforming our citizenship laws. Much of the best writing is personal, whether it is Christine Zorzi or Susan Varga coming to terms with their migrant heritage or Sudip Sen, an Australian of Indian background, making halal Irish stew in London.
The quarterly Griffith Review is the public face of Griffith University. As such, it tries to be friendly and approachable without sacrificing intellectual integrity, and succeeds brilliantly. Its mixture of fiction, memoirs, policy documents and reviews works very well indeed. There are gaps, of course (the poor and the ill-educated are under-represented, as is anything controversial) but Our Global Face is warmly recommended to specialist and non-specialist readers alike.
The Griffith Review is published by ABC Books.
Review added May 2005 (originally published Feb 2005)