Seven Poor Men of Sydney, by Christina Stead

ANZ LitLovers LitBlog

seven-poor-men-of-sydney As you can see from the lyrical opening lines from her first novel, Seven Poor Men of Sydney, Christina Stead had vivid memories of her favourite places in Sydney, even though she had fled Australian parochialism some years before her final revision of the novel for publication in 1934.  But although she came from a middle-class background, she also had vivid memories of the deprivation she had witnessed, and the first chapter paints a poignant picture of childhood poverty with her depiction of the childhood friend of her central character, Michael Baguenault:

Annie Prendergast lived with her family in part of the house.  The little girl was thin, with black eyes and hair.  She scratched her head and body all the time, and always smelled of ingrained dirt.  In the corners of the house bats flew, swallows dropped mud and dung from every beam, and from all the cracks of the great…

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