by Delia Falconer
Review by buckleboy
Sydney, Delia suggests, is a mass of contradictions, all revolving around a central failing that it wants beauty but more readily embraces ugliness; It's urge is to play and be playful but it is in fact an angry workaholic, Sydney delights in the finer points of life but also adores debauchery. Delia has a point. She has many and perhaps too many. There are myriad metaphors for Sydney and she writes with a colour that does the metropolitan area proud, but, like Darling Harbour, she just tries a bit too hard.
The author has an intriguing history herself and perhaps because of that, she feels at one with Sydney in many deeply profound ways. She grew up playing with the kids of Brett Whiteley and her parents knew Patrick White. She seems like something of a socialite but thankfully doesn't get too high-brow on the reader. (She's the Chatswood of writers.)
Delia has many fascinating sidelines about how our city functions and its people oscillate around our festivals and routines. She exposes our bigotry and our generosity equally. She draws on Kenneth Slessor's great old poems and splices little known colonial history with recent memories.
Towards the end of the book, it all starts to unravel - like when Anzac Parade reaches La Perouse "Where are we?" I remember thinking. "It's Mad Max meets Blacktown!" - and the book's editor's get sloppy as the author starts navel-gazing.
Maybe it's all supposed to resemble a walk across the Harbour Bridge. It begins wonderfully, then half way along you realise the fences spoil the view and by the end you think it'd be fabulous if they'd just finished it right.
Thanks for the great review. Go check out Buckleup's Blog.