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Paperback 30 Days in Sydney Book

ISBN: 0747596883

ISBN13: 9780747596882

30 Days in Sydney

(Part of the Writer and the City Series)

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Format: Paperback

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Book Overview

This description may be from another edition of this product. Peter Carey captures our imagination with a brilliant and unexpected portrait of Sydney. In the midst of the 2000 Olympic games, Australia native Peter Carey returns to Sydney after a seventeen-year...

Customer Reviews

3 ratings

Carey's catharsis

Any attempt to girdle a city within literature is doomed by the complexity and expanse of the topic. Carey delays this admission until the end, although by then his feelings are clear. Living and writing in New York City, only a deep inland residence could give him greater setting for contrast. His comparison with his current home is limited to the cramped quarters he endures there. Yet this limited contrast imparts the theme and import of this personal summary. Little of this book is about Australia's key city. Instead, the majority of Carey's essays here describe the Harbour, the Blue Mountains, the Pacific Coast, the Bridge and rivers. The characters are a melange of his personal friends and historical figures. There is a mystical episode on the Harbour Bridge and a passing critique of the CBD [Central Business District] and the values of those working there. The theme remains that the City is but one location in a region of contrasts. No other city is placed so uniquely. Perhaps no-one is better suited to attempt this unique task.Many cities rejoice in their history, but in this, too, Sydney is special. Founded as a convict colony, it grew into a major Pacific port. Survival was a struggle with poor soil, vagaries of rain and wind and the presence of the Aborigine population - issues that urbanisation hides but cannot eliminate. Sensing its importance early, Sydney girted the Harbour with forts, something Carey lightly applauds when old forts become new parks. Carey conveys the sense of struggle, but time has transformed equal starving of convicts and guards to ideals of social equality - so long as that society is white, he reminds us. His "distorted view" imparts his dissenting view on relations with displaced Aborigines, among other topics.However booksellers classify this work, it's not a travel advisory. Tourists will be unlikely to join the Sydney to Hobart race. Even more unlikely when they read Carey's account of the disaster of 1998. Nor will the casual visitor find themselves in a capsized racing skiff in the teeth of ten metre waves and forty knot winds. If you do visit, be careful hiking in mountains. If your visit occurs in the Southern Hemispheric summer, be extra cautious with matches or campfires. What can happen if you aren't Carey imparts with stunning clarity. Having lost his own house to fire, a telephone dialogue with a friend fighting to save one is a gripping read.Carey's many awards are well deserved. His descriptive writing skills and characterisation are well demonstrated in this book. It's no matter if these are real people, mixtures of many into one or wholly invented. Their own stories are from real life and deserve attention. Carey snags your attention from the first page and you give it willingly to the rest of the book. An essay string that may be enjoyed by anyone, this book provides entertainment, education and excitement. Try it and see. [stephen a. haines - Ottawa, Canada]

A Great Writer's Love Affair with a Great City!

Peter Carey spent 30 days in Sydney in 2000 and we readers are the lucky recipients of his account. He clearly loves Sydney and demonstrates this love in every page of this little volume. His love is contagious. For example, on viewing what he calls "the great Pacific Ocean," he writes: "It is one of a hundred places you will find in Sydney which take your breath away, and I, familiar but disoriented, was in a state of constant amazement that any metropolis could be so blesssed." He also obviously cares deeply for his friends who still live there. About his friend Jack Ledoux he says: "I have lived in more than one house Jack has designed and would be a happy man if I could wake up in one tomorrow morning and live in it all my life. Every time I walk into one of his constructions, it makes me happy." What an extraordinary way to describe a friend! Mr. Carey sets out to describe this great city in terms of earth, air, fire and water. He does this by having several zany friends of his-- some of them friends of thirty years-- tell their stories. Any one of these characters ought to be found in a novel, at least one of Mr. Carey's. In his hands they become flesh and blood and as interesting as the city they describe. Good stuff jumps out on every page. Mr. Carey admits that he cannot drive over Sydney's famous bridge without having a panic attack, a fact that is particularly significant to me since I suffer from the same problem with high bridges. Then there is the delicious account of the word "Eternity" and the little man responsible for writing the word everywhere or anywhere he felt his God called him to write it. Carey's handling of the "Aborigine problem" is particularly poignant in his discussion of Vicki, who was taken from her parents and raised by a white family.Carey, now living in New York, did not move to Sydney, the city his mother said was just like Liberace, until he was almost forty-- ". . . even then I carried in my baggage a typical Melbournian distrust of that vulgar crooked convict town." I for one would love to see him write similar books about both Melbourne and New York.So much good writing-- so many marvelous stories in 248 pages. A great read!

Lots of good stories within stories

This is a good read for Aussie expats, not least because the author is one of Australia?s more prominent contemporary literary figures, staging a return visit to Sydney from his current home in New York. Aussies living in America will probably be tuned into the way observations of one country are used to shed light on the other, the extra explanations he is obliged to include for either culture, as well was the exercise of reacquainting oneself with one?s place of origin and trying to come to grips with its history and character. On occasion the author?s own brand of cronyism (men relive their exploits or otherwise act out their mid life crises) is a bit irksome, but then he is well aware of such potential gripes and fends them off within the book (?Mate, you?re making a big mistake talking to all these men. You?re ignoring the women??). In all, he spins a good yarn, and the final pages will have you heaving on the open seas at the mouth of the Hawkesbury River.
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