Rash: A Memoir

Written by Lisa Kusel

Writer Lisa Kusel, while living comfortably in her California home, feels an unsettling lack of personal contentment. When she sees a job posting for a new international school in Bali, she convinces her schoolteacher husband Victor to apply.

Six weeks after his interview, Lisa, Victor, and their six-year-old daughter, Loy, move halfway around the world to paradise. But instead of luxuriating in ocean breezes, renewed passion, and first-rate schooling, what Lisa and her family find are burning corpses, biting ants, and a millionaire founder who cares more about selling bamboo furniture than educating young minds. Not to mention Lisa’s fear that one morning she might see the Dengue Fever rash on her young daughter.

RASH is an unfiltered, sharply-written memoir about a woman who goes looking for happiness on the Island of the Gods, and nearly destroys her marriage in the process. For anyone who has ever dreamed of starting over in an exotic locale, this is a poignant reminder that no matter where you go, there you are.

“In this stingingly satisfying memoir, Kusel uses her wicked wit to explore the flip side of starting over in a new country. RASH got under my skin starting on page one and felt like Calamine lotion for my own restless soul.” ~Nancy Stearns Bercaw, author of Dryland: One Woman’s Swim to Sobriety

“Raw, honest and funny: in RASH, Lisa Kusel captures perfectly the reality of living in a tropical Indonesian jungle, trying to hold on to a semblance of normal family life while dealing with the physical and emotional challenges that adapting to such a different lifestyle and culture brings. RASH will make you feel the heat and smell the smoke – and have you scratching at imaginary insect bites as you turn the pages. A healthy dose of reality for daydreamers and those who believe the grass is always greener on the other side.” ~Emma Bamford, author of Casting Off and Untie the Lines.

“A richly narrated, decidedly wistful, soul-searching travel memoir. Open and honest, Lisa ruminates on quiet insights of the reality behind the ever-present mosquito net. After finishing RASH, I wanted her to be my new best friend.” ~Elizabeth Fournier, author of The Green Reaper: Memoirs of an Eco-Mortician

“While it might sound good on paper, running away from home doesn’t always lead to salvation. In this bitingly frank and funny tale, Kusel takes us on a journey from her safe and semi-satisfied life in California to her unexpectedly pandemonic time in Bali. I was delighted to go along for the ride with this smart, charming woman who writes with such verve and intimacy. RASH is a must read for all those who are in search of their own patch of greener grass.” ~Sarah Alderson, author of Can We Live Here?: Finding a Home in Paradise


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