'VELOCITY tells the moving, painful but often hilarious story of Mandy Sayer's childhood and adolescence, a life lived on the edges - of society, of poverty, of certainty, of love.
'Filled with beautifully realised descriptions of life seen through a child's eyes - a child who gradually comes to realise her adored parents are all too tragically flawed and broken. Mandy is immersed in a world of smoky jazz bars, steamy beer gardens and lino-floored dosshouses, while vainly trying to make sense of the shambolic lifestyle of her alcoholic parents.
'Conceived after her jazz musician father swallowed a block of hash at a party, a young Mandy soon comes to realise that nothing in her world stays the same for long. Her father is prone to perplexing vanishing acts: absent for months at a time, he arrives on the doorstep to greet his delighted daughter with great affection, but no explanations. Meanwhile, her mother pursues fruitless relationships with other men while her father reacts with seeming indifference. Mandy and her mother frequently move house so her mother can take on housekeeping jobs, leaving Mandy struggling to make lasting friendships and longing for stability. She feels particularly vulnerable when her mother becomes involved with Hakkin, a deeply aggressive man whose violent and erratic outbursts are not reserved only for Mandy's mother.
'But there are many moments in life which bring Mandy joy and offer refuge: times when she feels assured of the love and approval of her parents: when she immerses herself in poetry, acting and music, and surrounds herself with those who share her passions.
'Velocity packs the emotional impact of 'Angela's Ashes' with the surreal humour and razor-sharp observations of 'Running with scissors'. Sayer brings into focus those moments when the child's world and the adult world intersect, when illusions are shattered and understanding begins. Unflinchingly honest, startlingly brave and written with a clear-eyed, lyrical grace, 'Velocity' is an ultimately uplifting story of struggle and faith against frightening odds. ' (Publication summary)
'An electrifying, epic history of the city of Sydney as you have never seen her before.'To peer deeply into this ghost city, the one lying beneath the surface, is to understand that Sydney has a soul and that it is a very dark place indeed.' Beneath the shining harbour, amid the towers of global greed and deep inside the bad-drugs madness of the suburban wastelands, lies Sydney's shadow history. Terrifying tsunamis, corpse-robbing morgue staff, killer cops, neo-Nazis, power junkies and bumbling SWOS teams electrify this epic tale of a city with a cold vacuum for a moral core. Birmingham drills beneath the cover story of a successful multicultural metropolis and melts the boundaries between past and present to reveal a ghost city beneath the surface of concrete and glass. In Birmingham's alternative history of Sydney, the yawning chasm between the megarich and the lumpen masses is as evident in the insane wealth of the new elites as it was in the head-spinning rapacity of the NSW Rum Corps. This is a city shattered by the nexus between government, big money and the underworld, where the glittering prizes go to the strong, not the just. Combining intensive research with the pace of a techno-thriller, John Birmingham creates a rich portrait of a city too dazzled by its own gorgeous reflection to care much for what lies at its dark, corrupted heart. Illuminated by wild flashes of black humour, violent, ghoulish and utterly compelling, Leviathan is history for the Tarantino generation.' (Publication summary)
'Throwim Way Leg is unputdownable, a book of wonder and excitement, of struggle and sadness, a love letter to Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya.
'This book brims with marvellous stories. Tim Flannery meets skilled hunters and befriends a shaman. He climbs mountains never before scaled by Europeans, discovers new species and stumbles across the giant bones of extinct marsupials.
'And he writes movingly about the fate of indigenous people when their intricate cultures collide with mining companies and the high-tech world of the late twentieth century.
'‘In New Guinea Pidgin,’ Tim Flannery explains, ‘throwim way leg means to go on a journey. It describes the action of thrusting out your leg to take the first step of what can be a long march…’
'With these words he invites us to share in his breathtaking adventures in the jungles of Papua New Guinea and Irian Jaya. You will never think about the bird-shaped island to our north in the same way again.'
'Set amongst the low scrub of the Mogumber sand plain north of Perth, the Moore River Native Settlement was, for thirty years, "sort of a place like home" for thousands of Aboriginal people. Sanctuary, work camp, orphanage, prison and rural idyll, the settlement was part of a bold social experiment by the Chief Protector of Aborigines, A. O. Neville, the aim of which was nothing less than the total eradication of a race and a culture.
Making extensive and imaginative use of oral resources and hitherto unseen documents, the book paints a vivid and intimate picture of the life experience of Moore River inmates, while documenting the appalling bureaucratic incompetence, official indifference and occasional outright brutality that made Moore River notorious.' (Source: 2003 edition)
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