"Seducing Mr Maclean" by Loubna Haikal. [review - radio script]
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Loubna Haikal, in her first novel, "Seducing Mr Maclean", writes about the age-old problems of adjustment and culture clash which face the children of migrant families. The narrator – never named – is a young Lebanese medical student, a refugee, with her parents and seven brothers and sisters, from the Lebanese wars of the late 20th century. The second daughter of the family, she gets into Melbourne University medical school on the strength of high marks in French (a result of her bilingual Beirut education), and the appreciation of her personal charms by the Dean, who thereafter monitors her progress with an inordinate amount of personal attention. This is Professor Maclean, the Mr Maclean of the title. The narrator is naïve in many ways, desperately trying to make sense of the strange language and customs of her new Australian friends, and incidentally giving a fresh and sometimes disturbing perspective on our own culture and its idiosyncrasies.