"Dymphna Cusack, in collaboration with Florence James, wrote a hugely successful novel about Sydney in war-time entitled Come in Spinner.
"She has now written another novel of the same stature as Come in Spinner, but in an entirely different setting. This new novel Southern Steel, is staged in the steel city of Newcastle, New South Wales. "Southern Steel" is the name of a powerful firm which dominates Newcastle, and against this background Miss Cusack sets a dramatic tale of family disunion, feminine rivalries, soldiers' lusts and lovers' ecstasies.
"The book is less of a panorama than Come in Spinner, more of a novel of personalities in conflict, of a tangled web of jealousy and class-bitterness, and the anguish of a community groping in the shadows of an uneasy industrial city."
The 'plane dipped. From his seat behind the pilot Bar Sweetapple saw the coast coming up: the cobalt of the Pacific, with its cotton-white fringe of surf; the ribbons of old-ivory sand; the chain of salt-water lakes like crinkled silver-paper in a matrix of olive green - Terrigal, Tuggerah, Munmora; then the sparkling expanse of Lake Macquarie, with the Catalinas droning in declining circles to the base at Rathmines.
Bar felt a quickening of his pulse. There were flying low now, and the bays and headlands that before had been only indentations and hummocks took on shape and dimension: the sun-drenched strip of Caves Beach where, when they were children, Pop took them to search for primitive chart instruments on the ancient middens where once the aboriginal tribes came to feast; the rippling tidal race at Swansea; Belmont, and the rounded bluff of Redhead.
From the Constable hardback edition, 1953.
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Last modified: February 13, 2002.