Mirror Sydney by Vanessa Berry book cover

Eccentric Guides:
Vanessa Berry’s Mirror Sydney

Mirror Sydney appeals to the notion that people live inside worlds of their own making. This suggests both a certain comprehensiveness or completeness and a limitation: the globe is known in form but so are its borders. However, this is also a world post-globalisation: the great exhibitions of the colonial project have become abandoned variety stores and theme parks, the pathos of which comes from quaintness or the strange, instead of authority or splendour.

An Embassy for Nowhere

Shaun Prescott’s eminently strange novel, The Town, begins by rejecting outright any ‘sense of place’. The town in this novel is nameless. It is a site that refutes specificity, character, and indeed meaning itself. As a librarian tells its narrator early on: ‘There are no books about this town... Nothing of note has ever happened in this town, and by the time it does, there will no longer be any point in remembering it.’

Back to Cronulla

‘Cronulla had changed, and the image of it I still carried was one that had set in amber, and had become as kitsch and heavy as a paperweight – not to mention as obsolete.’

Image credit: Rowen Atkinson, some rights reserved (https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/2.0/). This image has been cropped.

Excavating St Peters

‘This is a typical St Peters scene: unlovely, surreal, resistant to investigation.’

Post-Industrial, Holland Street, St Peters.