We're so excited to have announced pre-orders for author and former ASIS agent Warren Reed's newest book 'An Elephant On Your Nose'. Here, Warren writes about how we came to the book. You can order your copy now by clicking here. Half a century ago, the Japanese economy took off and drew Australia into Asia’s orbit like never before. Japan was followed by the rest of the “Asian tigers” and then China dwarfed all of that put together. Through all of this, significant numbers of Australians ventured into the Asian world to study, to live, to work and to establish long-lasting personal and professional relationships. In this process, these Australians have been able to observe up close the ways in which the peoples of Asia themselves relate to each other. The mechanics of all this can be complex, not just to understand but also to convey to fellow Australians. There aren’t many books around that do that.
Clearly, anyone who writes novels typically draws heavily on their own life experience and that’s what I’ve attempted to do with An Elephant on Your Nose. I’ve always wanted to create a story that shows how the Chinese, Japanese and Koreans, for example, rub up against each other. What do the differences in culture mean in their inter-relationships? How do the legacies of history hover in the background? How are the hierarchies of Northeast Asia’s institutions structured and how do they differ from our own? I hope that this book illustrates some of that, and additionally what happens when a foreigner is thrown into the mix. Language proficiency isn’t the be all and end all of a foreigner’s experience in Asia, but it certainly helps. Above all else, it displays respect for a society and culture vastly different to our own. To be fluent enough to understand how humour and innuendo differ in various Asian countries provides wonderful opportunities for exchange. One of the world’s most commonly shared languages is that of laughter. It not only facilitates mutual understanding but also throws up a wealth of unintended mistakes that help different peoples to laugh with each other rather that at each other. There are other languages too, like that of silence, which in Northeast Asia can be wielded with the dexterity of a surgeon’s scalpel.
These are the sorts of things that have helped define the story and the characters in An Elephant on Your Nose. I hope you enjoy it.