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Holidays by William McInnes - Book Review

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by Jenny Esots (subscribe)
A freelance writer and traveller who likes to explore the spiritual, literary and hidden gems of Adelaide and beyond.
Published January 4th 2015
What we did on our Holidays
William McInnes has a gift for describing the ordinary moments of life in a funny way. Interspersed with great character insights. He has published several other books, this being the first time I have read his work. Holidays is the loosely based theme for his new book. Seemingly a universal theme.

But the young William is confused by the need or concept of a holiday. His mother tells William as a child, 'a holiday is a time when you do lovely things that you never get a chance to really do otherwise.' This is the Australian love affair with holidays. Even if you don't go away, holidays are a sacred right.

Holidays by William McInnes
Holidays by William McInnes


Holidays provide time to get off the treadmill and relax. But holidays mean so many different things to different people. Some are creatures of habit and carve out a place they always return to. Others are restless searchers of new experiences. There are the campers, glampers, caravaners and adventure seekers. Holidays can be lazy days with fish and chips at the beach or highly organized escorted tours with barely time to draw breath.

So begins holiday tales from all over, the small moments often the most telling. McInnes writes with a deceptively easy style. Just little anecdotes from his life and times. Things he has observed and overheard while on holidays. The disasters and hard slogs. He is there with his laconic take on his own hits and misses of times away. William McInnes is able to harness his memories and create a wry, humorous and occasionally poignant memoir.

William McInnes
William McInnes


McInnes relates his riotous childhood memories on holidays. Regaling us with yarns from his hometown and surrounds. Those long hot drives squeezed into the back seat, no air conditioning then. There are holiday stories from his school days, family holidays and what he terms 'hit and run' holidays. That is a quick fire trip, just because you can.

The stories verge all over the place, with McInnes knack for the Australian vernacular. His written dialogue is always natural. He writes best when he talks about his own experiences. When trying to convey other people's holiday experiences, they feel secondhand. It is never quite as real. It is a bit like going to someone else's slide nights from years ago. You are at a disadvantage in not having lived and breathed those experiences.

William McInnes is a well known actor of Australian film and television. He is best known for his roles as Senior Constable Nick Schultz in Blue Heelers and Max Connors in SeaChange. He is now equally well known as an author of novels and entertaining memoirs.

As Australia drifts along in the national haze of the long hot summer and the go-slow month of January this book is the perfect fit. This is a light read just perfect for holidays!

Holidays, by William McInnes, published by Hachette ­Australia, $29.99, is out now.
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Why? Australia's love affair with holidays
When: Out now
Where: In bookstores or online
Cost: $29.99
Your Comment
I love this book. I was lucky enough to interview him for the radio. William has been one of my favourite guests.
by Coffee Break With Belinda (score: 2|382) 1289 days ago
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