Renowned and much-loved travel writer Jan Morris turns her eye to Sydney: 'not the best of the cities the British Empire created ... but the most hyperbolic, the youngest at heart, the shiniest.' Sydney takes us on the city's journey from penal colony to world-class metropolis, as lively and charming as the city it describes. With characteristic exuberance and sparkling prose, Jan Morris guides us through the history, people and geography of a fascinating and colourful city.
Jan Morris's collection of travel writing and reportage spans over five decades and includes such titles as Venice, Hong Kong, Spain, Manhattan '45, A Writer's World and the Pax Britannica Trilogy. Hav, her novel, was shortlisted for the Booker Prize and the Arthur C. Clarke Award.
'Sydney should be flattered. A great portrait painter has chosen it for her recent subject . . . Few writers - a handful of novelists apart - have got so far under the city's skin as Morris . . . Few Sydneysiders could match her knowledge of their city's history and its anecdotes' The Times
'The writing is, at times, like surfing: sentences rise like vast waves above which she rides, never overbalancing into gush . . . Jan Morris convincingly explains modern Sydney through its history' Observer
Elegantly written and charmingly impressionistic, this newest addition to the author's distinguished series of travel books ( Hong Kong ; Venice ) paints a vivid picture of Australia's largest city. Founded in 1788, when England sent its first shipload of convicts to Australia to atone for their crimes by settling the remote wilderness, Sydney in the 1990s is, Morris states, ``one of the great cities of the world,'' booming from its participation in Pacific Rim trade, blessed with a splendid climate and a spectacularly beautiful harbor. She captures the sardonic, earthy humor for which Sydneysiders are famous: the pupils who translate their school's motto (``I Hear, I See, I Learn'') into the mock-Latin ``Audio, Video, Disco,'' spoofing the city's famously hedonistic lifestyle; the infirm woman who, helped up from a bench, confides, ``It was a good lay, anyway.'' The author capably describes Sydney's social structure and memorably captures its architectural ambience. Yet she admits she found the city elusive, and she fails to provide the single crucial insight into Sydney's essence that would bring her slightly fuzzy portrait into focus. Not quite as wonderful as some of Morris's other titles, but great fun to read all the same.