I get sent a fair few books from publishers asking if I will read them and give them a quote for the cover. They are almost always books that the publishers think are a bit like mine and that I think are a-bit-like-people-who-haven't-read-mine-imagine-them-to-be in which a young man takes on a self-consciously wacky journey for no reason other than to write a book about it. The end result is that you end up with a book that may have a few good jokes and set pieces but with no real story to keep you turning the pages.
I only mention this because this book has a quote from me on the cover and so now you know this book isn't one of those. It's also worth pointing out that a publisher didn't send me a book asking for a quote - I read this quite independently after it was first published in Australia.
So... so far I've only told you what the book isn't, I ought to tell you something about what it is. David Smiedt is a South African who moved to Australia as a young boy. Before he left his father took him on a tour of the country. 30 years later he returns to his homeland and retraces those steps. The writing is wonderfully evocative in describing the country, the changes that it's made and those it is still struggling to make and the book is teeming with emotion, both for his country and his family - new and old.
It's the emotion that makes the humour work and there's lots of it. That's why the quote on the front says, 'Touchingly funny and what's more, it's funnily touching too.' I loved it.