From the list on to uncover Sydney’s past.
Who am I?
I arrived in Sydney in the 90s knowing as much as one brief peruse the Berlitz Guide could provide me. For the next 25 years I immersed myself in its beautiful harbour and beaches whilst writing four novels, all set in my hometown of London. But when I sat down to write my fifth novel, The Unforgiving City, set in 1890s Sydney, I drew a complete blank. What was my adopted city’s history? Did it even have one? If so, where was it? By the time I’d finished the novel I’d unearthed a whole other, hidden, Sydney. I will never view my new home town the same way again.
Maggie's book list on to uncover Sydney’s past
Why did Maggie love this book?
This is an Australian classic. Published in 1948, Park wrote this, her first novel, when she moved to the crowded, chaotic impoverished inner Sydney suburb of Surry Hills. Fascinated and deeply stirred by what she saw, her novel centres on the close-knit Darcy family whose love for one another and enduring joy for life is in stark contrast to the harsh and occasionally brutal world around them. Park’s love for her characters and for her city shines through and provides a magical yet thoughtful window on a Sydney in the years immediately following the war. I worked in Surry Hills for many years and I set much of my last novel on its streets and laneways so to walk those same streets in Ruth Park’s footsteps was such a treat.