Review Blog

May 06 2011

Sydney Bridge Upside Down by David Ballantyne

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Intro. by Kate De Goldi. First published 1968, Robert Hale Ltd NZ. This edition published 2010, Text Publishing Company. Louis Braille Audio Book - 8 Hours. Read by Humphrey Bower.  
Harry, his brother Cal and his best mate Dibs Kelly seem to have an idyllic location for their long summer holidays, playing around the wharf and abandoned meatworks while observing the comings and goings of the inhabitants of the small New Zealand community of Calliope Bay. Then things start to change, triggered by the arrival of Caroline on the boat that connects them to the outside world. Harry is charged with looking after his older and more sexually aware cousin as his mother is away in the city. His desire to impress, triggers his own awakening sexuality and develops into a need to protect her, especially from the attentions of the womanising butcher, Mr Wiggins. When the butcher dies in an accident soon after a similar accident claims the life of Harry's nosey neighbour Susan Prosser this classic coming of age novel reveals a more sinister side of the story and veers increasingly into unexpected directions. Humphrey Bower's narration lends a subtle sense of place and keeps this sprawling novel moving at a comfortable pace. Suitable for senior secondary students (there is a fairly graphic sex scene) and adults.
Sue Speck

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