Half a World Away: Surviving the Move to a Land Down Under (Book 2) by Alistair McGuinness
A collection of short stories describing the real life experiences of UK author, Alistair McGuinness, as he and his family emigrate to Australia and attempt to settle ‘Half a World Away’ from what they have left behind.
The book follows the family’s sometimes emotional journey, from their last summer spent living in the UK, barbecuing ‘Tescos’ sausages in the rain, to their exciting arrival in sunny Perth, Western Australia and balmy evenings relaxing by the ocean. From the challenging search for a house and steady job to outback adventures with aborigines, the stories are humourous, touching and full of valuable tips in equal measure.
As a fellow immigrant, I can imagine sharing a pint with the protagonist; he welcomes me, the reader, into his life with open arms. As I read, I feel impelled to tell him my own story and shout back how I feel the same way. He makes me think about the direction of my own life and whether I’m living it to the full. The man craves adventure and it’s catching.
The stories paint a varied picture of a very different lifestyle to that of the English, but one that is not always greener. He exposes it for what it sometimes is but always with respect and a desire to integrate. He touches on social, economic and environmental issues while maintaining a light-hearted tone and one that makes you chuckle.
There are times where the author could have perhaps inferred his point rather than told it explicitly, and I did lose a sense of how much time had passed from the start of the book to the end, as the story is not entirely linear, but on the whole, the book flowed well; it created suspense at times and a desire to know what the next adventure will be.
I look forward to the next installment!