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An expat’s lament

Germaine Greer has told white Australia to embrace its Aboriginal identity. But this book is more about her own isolation and sense of loss

By Nicolas Rothwell   September 2004

How harsh the lot of the celebrity expatriate, condemned to wander constantly between two worlds – shining with brilliant, well polished ease amid the codes of an adopted country while yearning, in some secret mental recess, for the familiar simplicities of home.

All the key figures among the mid-century “great generation” of Australian expatriates betray a certain tension in their relations with their country of origin. Barry Humphries has built a career on mockery of Australian ways, while Clive James has spent half a lifetime in dazzling, polylingual overcompensation for his antipodean background. Phillip Knightley, perhaps the most illustrious of…

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