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Harp In The South Mass Market Paperback – September 2, 1986
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About the Author
Ruth Park was a New Zealand-born Australian author. Her best known works are the novels The Harp in the South (1948) and Playing Beatie Bow (1980), and the children's radio serial The Muddle-Headed Wombat (1951–1970), which also spawned a book series. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
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Ruth Park has been described as an Australian Charles Dickens. Many of the characters living in poverty in Sydney come to life in a way Dickens described his characters in poverty in London. The characters are credible and often universal. The inept antics of two young people (Roie and Joseph Mendel) in their first relationship are something that many of us would have memories of.
The author graphically brings Surry Hills, nearby Paddy's market and the beach suburb of Narrabeen back to life. They are very different places now. Against this background we can understand much of how the characters feel about their lives. Each character is allowed to present his or her inner thoughts and in this way the reader understands them all better. The characters like Roie and Mumma grow and develop. Many others show a caring side that we all have. The depictions of inner conflicts in the characters make them realistic. The story is warm-hearted and I left the book with the strong feeling that human relations can make life worthwhile even living in a slum.
The book was launched in Sydney when it won a literary award in Sydney Morning Herald in 1949 with some controversy. Some letter writers to the newspaper argued that the slums depicted were a fantasy and there were no slums in Sydney. Ruth Park said that the book was based on her own experiences when she moved to Surry Hills from Auckland in 1942.
The book raises a number of social issues.
* The disparity between the rich (in Rose Bay and other suburbs) and poor (Surrey Hills) in Sydney. Something that is sometimes denied.
* The role of women in a man's world.
* The influential role of the church.
read and thought - better read. Fantastic and so happy that I read. It is a long book but
never boring. If you are Australian, of a certain age, I am sure that you would have had aunties or uncles or
known of someone that had grown up in these circumstances.
Extremely well written and the use of the slang of the day is authentic and well understood.
I could not put it down and was disappointed when i finished the book - I wanted more of the same.
This is an interesting expose of life in poorer areas of Sydney last century. The characters are real and the scenes vividly described.
It possibly drags on a bit long but worth the read.
Most recent customer reviews
A great read don't put it off any longer.