Sydney and me

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  • Published 20070202
  • ISBN: 9780733320569
  • Extent: 280 pp
  • Paperback (234 x 153mm)

FROM THE BEGINNING to the end of my twenties, I hated Sydney. It was a city whose high prices dictated the terms of its inhabitants’ lives: a week of fast-paced, stressful labour, ending with a short bout of frenetic spending. I was trying to be a writer, an occupation that gradually consumed more and more of my time until there was scarcely any left for work that earned money. At my desk, I knew that what I was doing had value; away from my desk, in my capacity as, for example, a job-sharing receptionist at a disposable nappy delivery company, I was worth approximately one hundred times more than I was as a writer – though it soon turned out that I was not worth even twelve dollars per hour, and I was sacked, either for incompetency or for not wearing deodorant, or both.

In a relationship, especially one that is turning bad, certain trivial events or exchanges can come to represent everything that had previously been formless, though unsettling. In a moment of apparent clarity, something all but material is born out of the swirling miasma of nameless emotions – a boyfriend sits in the driver’s seat without asking whether you would like to drive, proving his latent male-chauvinism; a girlfriend – proving her self-absorption – buys a block of Old Jamaica, although you have often told her how, ever since the year 12 after-formal party, you can’t stand the flavour of rum. These pieces of anecdotal evidence are recounted for the edification of a close friend or a psychiatrist – a partisan listener only for, although these pieces are supposed to conclusively reveal the truth about a third party, they ultimately provide insight into no one but the speaker.

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About the author

Lucy Lehmann

Lucy Lehmann is the author of The Showgirl and the Brumby (Vintage, 2002).A novelist by day, she first began playing music publicly in 2005 and continues...

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