Hey there. It's me. JB. Right now I'm probably kicking back on my hovercraft somewhere in the Antilles, or the Maldives, enjoying a dissolute, essentially meaningless life funded by your generous book purchases. Please, don't make me go back to selling my bodily fluids to science. Buy my books now and I promise to keep indulging myself in grotesque pleasures and luxury that I haven't really earned.
I really enjoyed this book. I've lived in Sydney for several years (loving every moment) but took it at face value. This book explains some of the quirks and history of the city - explaining how the modern city came to be. Having now read the book, I feel like I understand and recognize much more of the 'texture' of the city when I walk around the CBD.
I suspect that you're not going to get too much out of this book without having lived in Sydney for at least six months -- much of it, I think, depends on having visited and seen the suburbs, streets and sights, because the author uses the present city to explain its past.
My only complaint about the book is its "non-linear" structure. The book is a great and fun introduction to the city's history (emphasizing its murky past) but I did find myself wishing for more structure and detail. If Sydney really interests you, then you might want to also order a more 'dry' history of the city to complement this book.
Only JB. There are about a thousand stories about cities like Sydney, but only a polished storyteller like John Birmingham could pick this line and make it gold. Great yarn about a city most if us know so well.
Really loved this Biography of Sydney. I must say I'm a fan of JB now after reading the WW2 trilogy which I loved too. I have always wondered about a lot of the darker things about Sydney, having come here in the late 80's, I think you get more of a sense as an outsider looking in. It is a confusing city at times, and as a friend of mine says....it's not as funky as it thinks it is.... This is true sometimes as seen through the violence recently and not so recently. But overall it's a great place to live, and this book has definitely helped me understand some of the difficulties Sydney has been through. The book feels like it will be almost a manual for Sydney, to go back and check facts, mostly to solve arguments I suppose, because you get those conversations where people want to out-dark each other by knowing the dirtiest stories. Yeah this book will come in handy for sure