At the risk of making people think twice about being candid in their communications with me, I am going to post an excerpt from a friend's email:
...Read your book mate. I really enjoyed it. It's un-Australian of me to say this but you write very well, in my humble opinion. Good on you...
Ha! I loved reading that - it so summarizes a big part of the Australian identity. To paraphrase: I'm going to give you a compliment, but first I have to signpost it / apologize by noting that it's not quite the Australian thing to be saying something nice in such a straightforward way.
This whole country is an antidote to the Montessori, everyone-wins-first-place attitude. No wonder I like it here.