Pardon My French - A Memoir
Publisher: Ginninderra Press
This book gives insights into language and culture. It is the story of a French woman with a love of language and people. Falling in love with an Englishman, she turns her back on France only to discover after many adventures in Africa, Papua New Guinea and finally in outback Australia that she cannot escape her southern French culture. Hearing that her father is dying triggers a change of direction in her life. She reassesses her identity to find she has tried too hard to be ‘Australian’, and yet she feels she has common ground with the extended families of migrant and Indigenous communities. In Adelaide now, with global family and friends, she follows an Aussie lifestyle of her own.
‘Peppered with wry humour, wit and axiomatic wisdoms – “parents talked of the children but boasted of their vegetables” – Anne Marie Smith’s memoir transcends the everyday capturing the intensities of leaving home, migration, exile and loving return. In this finely observed account of a life spanning many continents and cultures, language is alchemically transformed into vivid images; memory and the past are captured as present sensation. Pardon My French is a work about a life too well-lived to be left untold.’ – Professor Estelle Barrett, Deakin University
‘Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité – Anne-Marie Smith, linguist, librarian, editor and activist, lives these sentiments in her journey from the south of France to the north of England, through Zambia, Papua New Guinea, Kalgoorlie (where we met), Karratha, Perth and Adelaide. She has been nourished along the way by family and friends, and by the steadfastness of indigenous peoples and the hopefulness of refugees.’ – Heather Nimmo, playwright
‘Anne-Marie Smith is an astute human observer who tells her extraordinary life story in her inimitable, straight-from-the-hip style.’ – Lindy Warrell, anthropologist, writer and poe