They're a Weird Mob chronicles the hilarious attempts of an English-speaking Italian migrant coming to grips with the Australian way of life. It is also an insight into the importance of idiomatic language to the Australian people.
Nino Culotta arrives in Sydney to find that, 'Most Australians speak English like I speak Hindustani, which I don't. In general, they use English words, but in a way which makes no sense to anyone else.'The language barrier means that Nino's assimilation is fraught with perplexity and frustration, but invariably reveals the true Australian spirit - a little rough around the edges, but friendly, independent and lovable.
I've always wanted to read this book ever since I saw the movie when I was a younger man in the 80s. However, the audiobook is very good considering Henry Szeps gives such a brilliant performance narrating it. It was interesting recognizing some of the main scenes in the book that were also portrayed in the movie version. But I must confess that I thought the story as adapted for the movie was more engaging than the one in O'Grady's book. None the less, being an Australian (who was born in the 60s) I can't help thinking that the kind of Australia portrayed in the book (and more so in the movie) has sadly been lost long ago.