Books

Top 5 books about the Australian immigrant experience, chosen by Michelle de Kretser

The Australian immigrant and novelist selects five books that talk about what it's like to be a migrant down under

map of Australia with a pin in it

Not all migrants to Australia have been treated equally. Image: Joey Csunyo on Unsplash

Oh Lucky Country by Rosa Cappiello

Immigrating in huge numbers post-war, southern Europeans transformed Australia. This compelling novel is a fierce take on Anglo-Australian society and its prejudices.  

Heddy and Me by Susan Varga

Heddy was a Hungarian Holocaust survivor. This memoir by her daughter explores the impact of her mother’s experiences on their relationship. 

Love and Vertigo by Hsu-Ming Teo

This insightful and moving novel describes generational differences and parental expectations in an immigrant family of Malaysian and Chinese heritage. 

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The Tribe by Michael Mohammed Ahmad

The Lebanese community of south-western Sydney is often targeted by a blatantly Islamophobic media. This frank novella, from a child’s point of view, counters that prejudice with an insider’s account of a Lebanese family. 

The Permanent Resident by Roanna Gonsalves

This terrific collection focuses on the tough lives of Indian immigrants in Sydney. Gonsalves is a witty writer, but her stories are often moving as her lively, flawed characters strive for their goal of permanent residency.  

Scary Monsters book cover

Scary Monsters by Michelle de Kretser is out now (Atlantic, £9.99). It is the winner of 2023 Rathbones Folio Prize Book of the Year – Fiction. You can buy it from The Big Issue shop on Bookshop.org, which helps to support The Big Issue and independent bookshops.

This article is taken from The Big Issue magazine, which exists to give homeless, long-term unemployed and marginalised people the opportunity to earn an income.To support our work buy a copy! If you cannot reach your local vendor, you can still click HERE to subscribe to The Big Issue today or give a gift subscription to a friend or family member. You can also purchase one-off issues from The Big Issue Shop or The Big Issue app, available now from the App Store or Google Play.

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