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Sydney (The New South Cities Series #3)

3.45  ·  Rating Details  ·  76 Ratings  ·  21 Reviews
Part memoir, part guide to Sydney, Australia, this melancholic, moving, and funny exploration intertwines novelist Delia Falconer's own stories with the city's historical and literary past, showing how the city has evolved from the 1970s through today. From mad clergymen and amateur astronomers to Indigenous weather experts and local artists, this personal and unique recor ...more
ebook, 304 pages
Published December 1st 2010 by University of New South Wales Press (first published January 1st 2010)
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(showing 1-30 of 165)
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Though this book was full of interesting facts and anecdotes about Sydney I struggled to connect with the way Delia Falconer told this tale. It felt at times as if Falconer was trying too hard to convince readers of the attributes that she most loves about the city. Maybe if I'd grown up in Sydney like Falconer did I would've responded differently to the book, but as a relatively recent arrival I was expecting this book to reveal more layers and uncover a whole lot of new perspectives on Sydney, ...more
May 29, 2013 L rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I picked up Sydney in a bookstore in the Rocks, wanting to know more about the history of the town. The historical aspects of the book, especially in the beginning, were very interesting. But Delia Falconer's writing style left me feeling exactly the way I felt when we landed in Sydney; exhausted, dizzy, confused, and feeling like things were fairly familiar but enough different that I had to really concentrate to understand what was being said. She writes in circles, mixing some history with pe ...more
Jan 06, 2012 Kylie rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
A lyrical and fascinating portrait of Australia’s first city, looking to its literary history to fully explore the author's relationship with those parts of it she knows well. However, those readers looking for a book about contemporary Sydney outside the author's self-imposed border of Eastern Suburbs-Lower North Shore-Inner West will be disappointed. Her portrait of Sydney’s suburbs - particularly the Western Suburbs and Sutherland Shire - as constraining and limiting and simmering with an und ...more
Evocative and poetic account of the author's Sydney, in which fecund, decaying nature and an ancient and largely invisible history leave their traces, both physical and melancholic, on a dynamic city. Highly recommended.
This is way too much of a literary review, especially of books and poets I've never heard of (my ignorance, I'm sure), that I found myself having trouble connecting to the story. The writing style is evocative and lyrical but it's so circular and weaves in and out of historical narrative, personal memoir and literary association that I felt like I was being drawn in and left standing utterly confused at the same time.

I would have liked more history and a somewhat clearer organisation to give me
Steve lovell
Mar 24, 2013 Steve lovell rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
As I was about to enter my teenage years in the backwater – not necessarily a negative – that was Burnie, in the early 60's, two events occurred that gave me the heebie jeebies for years. The first was venturing to the long gone Somerset Drive-in, on the fringes of town, to see Alfred Hitchcock's 'The Birds'. I have no idea now whose car I was in, or indeed with whom I saw the movie, but it gave me nightmares for months. The al fresco cinema experience was just across from the sea shore, so as w ...more
I suspected I wasn't going to like this book. I'm not a huge non-fiction fan - the topic has to be very interesting and there has to be some sort of clear narrative to hold my interest.

Very early on, my suspicion was confirmed. Not only was the style disjointed (sometimes effective in fiction, never, in my opinion, effective in non-fiction) but Falconer tends towards the over-dramatic. I am not really an eye roller, but found that I rolled my eyes several times in the first chapter of this book.
Brett Johnstone
Oct 27, 2015 Brett Johnstone rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
How anybody who has lived in Sydney and loved it, could possibly find anything negative between these pages is quite beyond me. This gorgeous, beautifully written little book is a treasure to be read and re-read. I came across it entirely by accident, and found it incredibly evocative and deeply moving. If I could send an email to Ms Falconer herself I would. I adore this book.
Dec 21, 2014 Alex rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sydney is allergic to earnestness … live here and you soon learn that showing-off is only allowed if it is tempered by flippancy. You can observe your own beliefs, celebrate your good fortune outrageously, only as long as you do not do it in a way that implies criticism of others. You do it in private, or you do it with exaggerated parody.
Apr 01, 2013 Terri rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I love Delia Falconer's work and was looking forward to reading this book but I was a little disappointed. It was a very dark view of Sydney and focused only on some parts such as the city and northern and eastern suburbs mostly. It seemed to define Sydney by its major crime events and dark under-side not by the light and positives that I see everyday traveling around large parts of Sydney including the south west where I work and see the positive side of diversity. Maybe a book on Sydney will a ...more
Jul 26, 2015 Kelsey rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
quick easy little book to read. the factual info is great but the writing style I was not a fan of. a bit OTT.
Aug 09, 2011 Cathy rated it really liked it
I'm really enjoying her style of writing..and the memories of my own about Sydney in the 60's and 70's.
I finished this book and loved it. I like the idea of a different author writing about a city they know and love. I have since read Brisbane, by Matt Condon, but didn't enjoy it nearly as much. He got so caught up in the placing of a memorial to John Oxley it was repetitive and boring.
Also want to read Sophie Cunningham's Melbourne, though it didn't get a very good review.
Edoardo Albert
Aug 26, 2013 Edoardo Albert rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written meditation on and memoir of Sydney, contrasting its old urban grit and Protestant restraint with the fecundity of its setting and the glitz of its current incarnation. My only real criticism is that the book functions more as a series of contrasting insights and thus tends to lack much in the way of narrative drive. Well worth reading for a different perspective on the city.
Therese Spruhan
Aug 13, 2012 Therese Spruhan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is a very personal story of Sydney told beautifully by Delia Falconer. I particularly enjoyed the way she weaved historical information and stories into the narrative, as well as her own experiences and ideas. A thought-provoking story filled with lush, sensual images in typical Delia Falconer style.
Jan 16, 2011 K rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Fascinating. I did feel like the changes she discussed toward the latter half were really shifts in her that altered how she engaged with the city. It's far to say that when you move to the Eastern suburbs from the Inner West, the city will seem more obsessed with the source of fish etc.
Oct 24, 2011 Cathy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Really lovely meditation on the city where I grew up and still live. Nice to have some of the literary life of the city and quirky elements of the past.
Rob Kennedy
Jan 16, 2011 Rob Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I've read the first dozen pages and it's written in a haunting manner. Having lived in Sydney all my life, I am looking forward to finishing it.
Oct 27, 2014 Mia rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: books-i-own
Beautiful, funny, haunting, and thought-provoking. It made me see the city I grew up in in a different light
Aug 14, 2011 Chappell rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Sometimes interesting, somewhat a chore to finish..
Sean Ross
Good value to get your head around Sydney's past.
Jan 11, 2015 Jennifer rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Beautifully written. Really absorbing.
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Other Books in the Series

The New South Cities Series (9 books)
  • In Search of Hobart
  • Brisbane
  • Melbourne
  • Adelaide
  • Canberra
  • Alice Springs
  • Perth
  • Darwin

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