Author: Le, Shirley
Publication date: 28/02/2023
Imprint: Affirm Press AUS
I looked at the streets of Yagoona through eyes stinging with melted Maybelline liquid liner. Yagoona looked back at me, the wannabe hipster who dreamed of moving to a share house in the inner west, and cackled.
Funny Ethnics catapults readers into the sprawling city-within-a-city that is Western Sydney and the world of Sylvia Nguyen: only child of Vietnamese refugee parents, unexceptional student, exceptional self-doubter. It’s a place where migrants from across the world converge, and identity is a slippery, ever-shifting beast.
Jumping through snapshots of Sylvia’s life – from childhood to something resembling adulthood – this novel is about square pegs and round holes, those who belong and those on the fringes. It’s a funhouse mirror held up to modern Australia revealing suburban fortune tellers, train-carriage preachers, crumbling friendships and bad stand-up comedy.
In Funny Ethnics, Shirley Le uses a coming-of-age tale to reveal a side of Australia so ordinary that it’s entirely bizarre.