The Big Smoke

The Big SmokeRanging In Time From Early In The Century Until The S, This Unusual Novel Has As Its Dominating Figure A Big City The Big Smoke That Moulds And Is Moulded By The Lives Of Its People The Chronicle Of The Young Man Who Began Life As Jack Johnson S Boy Expounds Its Theme That We Are All Taking Part In The Life Stories Of Many Others Dramatic In Conception, The Novel Thus Presents An Interwoven Cross Section Of Individuals Who Touch And Influence One Another S Destinies For Better Or WorseD Arcy Niland Brilliantly Catches The Atmosphere, The Essential Character, Of This Tough, Lusty City Which Is Sydney And, In Racy Narrative That Never Falters, He Shows The Pathos And Poetry Of The Intermingled Lives That Are Its Essence From Chiddy Hay, The Fight Promoter Robbed Of A Champion, To The Droll And Invincible Ruby Chapple From Young Frosty The Steeplejack In Search Of His Love, Veronica, To Spits The Outcast Jew From The Brutal Thug, Lew Craven, To The Gentle Gemma Who Suffers Because Of Her Dark Skin All The Characters Have Extraordinary Vitality And Their Fates Are Linked With A True Story Teller S ArtWith Warmth And Humour And A Fine Dramatic Sense, D Arcy Niland Weaves Into A Fascinating Pattern The Lives Of The Priests And Prostitutes, The Newspaper Men And Prize Fighters, That Are Framed In The Big Smoke

D Arcy Francis Niland was an Australian author who wrote prolifically during his lifetime He is well known for his classic novel The Shiralee, a best selling book which has never been out of print since its first publication in 1955 His major interest was in the craft of short story writing He produced over five hundred short stories published in Australia and abroad.D Arcy Niland was born in G

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  • Hardcover
  • 224 pages
  • The Big Smoke
  • D'Arcy Niland
  • English
  • 17 June 2017

10 thoughts on “The Big Smoke

  1. says:

    My interest in D Arcy Niland was only sparked when I read Ruth Park s autobiography, A Fence Around the Cuckoo Fishing in the Styx which of course, referred quite a bit to Niland being a happily married couple who also spurred each other on in their writing jobs Unfortunately, most of his books are out of print except for one, The Shiralee Thankfully, my library has a decent collection and carried a few of his works.I really wasn t sure what to expect from this novel as there wasn t much information online about it I ve amended the Goodreads page with the blurb from the inside jacket noting the only other review about this book noted uncertainly that it was set in 1950 s Sydney but it s not It is actually from beginning of 20th century to mid 20s It is a novel of interconnected stories surrounding Jack Johnson s boy.The story began, of course, just before the conception of this boy from the perspective of a fight promoter, Chiddy Hay, who never really made it and is down on his luck It ended, at a full circle, with Chiddy Hay, a pensioner still down on his luck though this was during the Great Depression and the boy grown Out of the 10 chapters stories, only one short one is from the perspective of the boy All other 9 stories are told from people connected to him either directly or indirectly but most assuredly connected by living in the Big Smoke ie City of Sydney.This novel really isn t about the boy or anyone in particular but rather of the city and its effects on the residents of said city this city is a character It talks It works on its own It plays fair and it plays foul I m what it s done to me The variety of the characters, their warmth and vitality, was just amazing At the end of each chapter, I want to know about that particular character though of course, we d have to move on There was a steeplejack, a street sweeper, owner of a burger joint, a night watcher, a housewife, and many others who work in and for the city Yet, despite everything they do, the city lives on when they fade away.Sydney, of course, is my city, my home and I have loved each moment I read this novel as I imagine myself as life was back in the last century These characters expressed what each city dwellers would have felt at one time or another the beauty of the city, the smog, the loneliness, etc The Great Depression surely was not a good age to live in but each of these characters felt so real and their stories regardless of whether it ends well or not were heartfelt.

  2. says:

    Story of Sydney in the 50s I think generally, and specifically the way peopoles lives interact in a large city, and that lives crossing over and interacting is what a city is about Its one of the less known books of D Arcy Niland or maybe is well known but I have never heard of it or come across it before Finding it at the Autumn LifeLine BookFair 2010 was a pleasure partly because I love Australian literature but also because it was D Arcy Niland The son of an indigenous Australian boxer is the character across whose life all the other lives in the book intersect, or bump against the thread which loosely binds the plot together It is unusual and particularly pleasing to read a novel in which an indigenous Australian is the main character written during this time period it was first published in 1959, then again in 1967 and 1978 The original publisher is from Great Britain Penguin of course.

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