In fact, it was around this point that I started to realise that my uncertainty about might be more due to her father’s desire for “dismemory”, that is, to deliberately forget, than to her youthfulness.‘As publishers, we are always looking for exceptional writing and original voices,’ says Black Inc. ‘We have worked with Alice for many years now, and it’s exciting to witness both a departure (to fiction) and a return (to school days) with is her debut work of fiction, and is set in an exclusive private girls’ school of the same name.
Pung concedes that, ‘In the upper classes in a school like Laurinda, where everyone tries to be racist – to be politically correct – sometimes it can come across as quite racist, because they’re just telling you what your culture is.
Like, assuming that you’re interested in Asian art and history just because you’re Asian.’ Pung’s own high school experiences have shaped her writing.
There are some lovely touches in the book about the business of writing memoir.
Pung refers briefly to her parents’ reactions to She waited for more reproaches, even excoriation.
The difference is that this is not just Alice’s story as , such as the over-protectiveness of her parents. In fact, the book’s chapters see-saw between those labelled “Father” and “Daughter”, so that it reads almost like a conversation.
This conversation style is one part of the narrative structure.Another is the movement in geographic setting from Alice’s time in China, to her return to Melbourne, to her father’s life in Cambodia and then her much later visit to Cambodia with her father, and finally back in Melbourne again.This geographic movement is overlaid with the third significant aspect of the structure, its chronology.” But the problem with bullying of teachers is that if they go to the administration (if the school has a very bad administration) they’ll say, “Well, what’s wrong with you that you can’t control 16-year-old girls? ” The teachers feel a stigma, they should feel like they , as seen through the eyes of protagonist Lucy Lam.‘It is a little bit about race, because in certain scenes there’s clear racism – but it’s not a big deal. And I hope that ignorance shines through.’ Scenes in which Laurinda’s community grasp at inclusivity and diversity make for cringe-worthy comedy (ironically, the same affluent community tolerates and tacitly encourages nastiness in order to achieve success at all costs).‘I’ve always loved YA – those books moved me much more than any other books have moved me in my adult life,’ Pung explains.‘They had an effect on me because they were about real teenagers, realistic scenarios – we didn’t have crazy dystopias like come from a single-parent household.’ Don’t try to convince Alice Pung that she should be embarrassed to credit young adult novels as amongst the most influential of her reading life.The book moves back in time from the present, from when Pung’s family is well-established in Australia with a successful business, with, that is, the life Pung wrote about in her first memoir.At the beginning of this book, Pung, in her late 20s, goes overseas for the first time and her father, as is his wont, is fearful: We’ve all read and/or seen about the killing fields of Cambodia so I’m not going to detail here her father’s story of survival through one of the world’s terrible genocides.‘Because I changed high school so many times, I came to learn that there’s no sense of self that’s fixed – and that comes from being Buddhist as well.Because at Christ the King I was pretty funny and pretty well-liked, and then I changed schools to one that didn’t have many Asian kids – so suddenly I was the quiet Asian kid, every time I told a joke it fell flat because people didn’t expect Asians to be funny.