Reviews

Hi Keith. Have read your book and loved it. Brought back a lot of memories of our own migration in 1958 on the Zuiderkruis. Your book is a lovely recount of your early years inAustralia and could relate to it so well. A real page turner. Also learned a lot about dutch history that i didnt know. A real page turner.

From reader Marianne Verhagen

For those of you whom know me well, you would know I’m definitely not a book worm, and don’t like reading at all. As growing up, the only sentimental books I’ve read had some affiliation with Religion, (nothing wrong with that)…but to broaden my horizons, I’ve had the opportunity to read an INSPIRING autobiography called Vertrek, written by Keith Paulusse, and an honour – as I know the Author personally & the first Author I’ve ever met WOW!!! With my hand on my heart, what I’ve read thus far has truly giving me things to think about my own personal life, it’s a book where History and the Current Times we live in, present great insights and comparisons. It provides a personal feel by making the Reality of it so REAL & CURRENT, it’s a book of LOVE, CARE, FAMILY, STRUGGLE, DEFEAT & much more, but most importantly for me – aspects of the book that has changed my life for the better. Thank you Keith!

John Saluni writes on his Face Book

In this memoir of vertrek, the Dutch word for leaving, first-time author Paulusse recounts his family’s immigration to Australia from the Netherlands in the early 1960s.

Paulusse was baffled by his parents’ decision to move to Australia. After a five-week ocean voyage, the family landed in Melbourne to start a new life but faced difficulties. Struggling to find employment, Paulusse’s father, Piet, worked at disappointing jobs and launched a boat-building business that failed, forcing Paulusse to augment the family income. He emptied the neighbors’ garbage (and sold the porn magazines he found), worked at a butter factory at 13 after lying about his age, and performed menial jobs to help the family manage. Paulusse paints cameos of the people he and his family met, comparing his new Australian acquaintances with his Dutch family and friends, whom the Australians jocularly called “clog wogs.” Australians seemed willing to give anyone, including immigrants, a “fair go” and “mateship,” while the Dutch come across as earnest, hardworking, and frugal but not without humor. Discovering hair in his food at the Australian assimilation camp where the family first stayed, for instance, Paulusse’s father joked that the dandruff might add flavor to the meal. This resilience, along with determination and persistence, allowed the family to survive if not always thrive. Paulusse repeats himself occasionally and makes some spelling mistakes, e.g. “Manderin” and “plagerized.” Sometimes he doesn’t explain enough—for instance, about his own curious birth with two stomachs or what might have caused his young sister’s unexpected death. But the book’s strengths outweigh its weaknesses. It’s loaded with perceptive portraits of the Australians and Dutch Paulusse knew and descriptions of his family’s struggles. The book also provides an ambivalent take on assimilation and the so-called advances of modern life compared with “a quieter, more stable time.” Overall, these memorable anecdotes are told with empathy and laced with wit and warmth.

A perceptive, descriptive portrait of Australia in the 1960s and of the immigrant experience in general.

Kirkus Reviews

Dear Keith Paulusse I finished your book. Great job! I really enjoyed this tale about your Dutch family migrating to Australia. I recommend ‘Vertrek’ to everybody. Very fluent and never boring. Dividing the text into paragraphs was a great idea and helped the reading. I liked the pictures at the end of the chapters, so I could give a face to the people mentioned. I underlined the sentences that I liked the most, I’ve been meditating on many things. I liked how you talked about social issues, comparing the present and the past. Especially I liked the part about conscription for Vietnam’s war and the real story about the discovery of Australia. And The last intimate chapters about your family were touching. This book kept a lot of company to me as a solo traveller around the world. I’m looking forward to your up coming 2nd book! — reading Vertrek in Paris, France.

Claudio Corlazzoli