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Sydney by Delia Falconer

November 2010, no. 326

Sydney by Delia Falconer

NewSouth, $29.95 hb, 301 pp, 9781921410925

Sydney by Delia Falconer

November 2010, no. 326

Delia Falconer’s Sydney, the third in a series from NewSouth in which leading Australian authors write about their hometowns, is like its harbour, brimful with tones, vivid with contemplation.

Sydney has had a strong tradition of writers enraptured by the city – in the twentieth century, for example, Patrick White, Christina Stead, Kenneth Slessor – yet their notations form the high notes. Beneath the brash metallic sounds of the growing metropolis and its burgeoning colonial life, Falconer suggests, lay another more sonorous tone, that of the Eora nation whose ‘pervasive disappearance has led to ubiquity, to a pregnant presence’: ‘There are times especially when the autumn mists blur the edges of the harbour, and the king tides rise, when one feels ghostly; when this place feels sentient, and thus more alive, than oneself.’

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