Wednesday, 20 March 2013

Sydney Bridge Upside Down by David Ballantyne

The great unread New Zealand novel—a gothic thriller, a coming-of-age story and a sinister family tragedy.

Written in 1968, Sydney Bridge Upside Down was until recently an underground classic, now undergoing a revival after being republished.

Harry Baird lives with his mother, father and younger brother Cal in Calliope Bay, at the edge of the world. Summer has come, and those who can have left the bay for the allure of the far away city. Among them is Harry's mother, who has left behind a case of homemade ginger beer and a vague promise of return.

Harry and Cal are too busy enjoying their holidays, playing in the caves and the old abandoned slaughterhouse, to be too concerned with her absence. When their older cousin-the beautiful, sophisticated Caroline-comes from the city to stay with the Bairds, Harry is besotted. With their friend Dibs Kelly, the boys and Caroline spend the long summer days exploring the bay and playing games.

But Harry is very protective of Caroline and jealous of the attention she receives from other men. And what looked to be a pleasurable summer is overshadowed by certain 'accidents' in the old slaughterhouse and a general air of suspicion and distrust.

There was a simple country boy who lived on the edge of the world, and his name was Harry Baird. That is not the whole story.

Sydney Bridge Upside Down has long been considered a New Zealand literary masterpiece.

Check catalogue and reserve online
Sydney Bridge Upside Down by David Ballantyne

Harry's Hikoi
An intiative has been launched to promote the novel during New Zealand Book Month in an unusual, but superbly fun, manner. To honour Ballantyne’s contribution to New Zealand literature and the inspiration he has provided for Taki Rua’s theatre production of the novel, they have set in motion the initiative called Harry’s Hikoi. Using a “pay it forward” approach readers are being challenged to share their copy of the book with as many people as possible.

Taki Rua Productions is Aotearoa / New Zealand’s national Māori theatre company.

See Harry's Hikoi on Facebook

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