30 DAYS IN SYDNEY book cover   30 Days in Sydney
A Wildly Distorted Account
Peter Carey
2001

Cover photograph by Martyn Rose

Dustjacket synopsis:

"After living in New York for ten years novelist Peter Carey returned home to Sydney with the idea of capturing its ebullient character via the four elements. 'I would never seek to define Manhattan by asking my New York friends for stories of Earth and Air and Fire and Water,' he writes, 'but that is exactly what was in my mind as I walked through immigration at Kingsford Smith International Airport.'

"But Carey's friends turn out to be anarchic characters each of whom has his own very individual way of story-telling.

"Carey draws the reader helplessly into a wild and wonderful journey of discovery and re-discovery. Reading this book is a very physical experience, as bracing as the southerly buster that sometimes batters Sydney's beauteous shores. Famous visual extravaganzas such as Bondi Beach, the Opera House, the Harbour Bridge and the Blue Mountains all take on a strange new intensity when exposed to the penetrating gaze of Peter and his friends.

"Thirty Days in Sydney offers the reader a private glimpse behind the glittering fašades and the venetian blinds. It will exhilarate and enchant all who visit."

First Paragraph:

I despair of being able to convey to any reader my own idea of the beauty of Sydney Harbour, wrote Anthony Trollope. I have seen nothing equal to it in the way of landlocked scenery, -- nothing, second to it. Dublin Bay, the Bay of Spezia, New York and the Cove of Cork are all picturesquely fine. Bantry Bay, with the nooks of the sea running up to Glengarrif, is very lovely. But they are not the equal of Sydney either in shape, in colour, or in variety. I have never seen Naples, or Rio Janeiro, or Lisbon; -- but from the description and pictures I am led to think that none of them can possess such a world of loveliness of water as lies within Sydney Heads.

I could not see the harbour from the aisle seat of the Boeing 747 that brought me home from New York and I squirmed and craned just like my broad-shouldered companions from Connecticut, each dressed in spectacular outfits tailored from the stars and stripes. Members of a martial-arts team, they were so aflame about this journey, had been loudly excited since we left LA thirteen hours before, that they had tested the powers of my Temazepan to the limits. It had taken two 1.5mg capsules and four glasses of red wine before I could finally sleep. Our conversations had been brief. I knew only that they wished to win some medals in Sydney. They knew that I lived in New York City. I am sure they had no idea that I was an Australian trying to get a glimpse of home.

From the Bloomsbury hardback edition, 2001.


This page and its contents are copyright © 2003-08 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.

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Last modified: January 29, 2008.