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Publisher's Summary

An Australian classic, this is the story of the Darcy family who live in the Depression era tenements of Surry Hills, Sydney.

Hugh and Margaret Darcy are raising their family in Sydney amid the brothels, grog shops and run-down boarding houses of Surry Hills, where money is scarce and life is not easy. Filled with beautifully drawn characters that will make you laugh as much as cry, this Australian classic will take you straight back to the colourful slums of Sydney with convincing depth, careful detail and great heart.

©1948 Ruth Park (P)2011 Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd

Critic Reviews

"For all its faults this family is bound together by a powerful love...and while they live in one of the roughest parts of Sydney, and there is drunkenness and violence, theirs is a community which will offer friendship and compassion when it's needed." (Lisa Hill, ANZ LitLovers)

What listeners say about The Harp in the South

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Decent;y entertaining

Given how highly acclaimed this book is, I was a little disappointed. It's good--but it's pretty conventional, and I don't find either the writing or the thinking especially exhilarating. But I read it right after Tim Winton's Cloudstreet--and I think it suffered by comparison--as most novels would.

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Great Narration of an Aussie classic

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I would recommend this to someone who liked Australian literature. Classic Aussie lit seems to focus on place and challenging lifestyles in a tough environment. The Harp in the South is set in the slums of suburban Sydney and also depicts life for the poor in post-war times.

What was your reaction to the ending? (No spoilers please!)

The ending was satisfactory.

Which character – as performed by Kate Hood – was your favorite?

I have to say, I really enjoyed Kate Hood's performance. She's a fantastic narrator who really brought each of the characters to life! I didn't have a favourite character but very much enjoyed the dynamic between all the members of the Darcy family.

Did you have an extreme reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

I found myself laughing at times, saddened at other times.

Any additional comments?

It's a gem, a must read, particularly for Australian readers and authors.

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Awesome Narrator

This was one of THE best Narrators I have listened to. The way she is able to give different accents & tones to each character only added to a wonderfully written book.
It's my first entry into Ruth Parks novels but not my last.
A great audible book choice all round.

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Surry Hills in the 1920s

Think your life is tough? Only 100 years ago life was poverty stricken and desperate (in the slums in Australia). And yet people managed to survive. Definitely worth listening to.

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Read As Part Of The Year 12 English Curriculum

Would you recommend this audiobook to a friend? If so, why?

I probably wouldn't have listened to this book if it hadn't been a requirement of the Year 12 Curriculum. My youngest son is in Grade 12 and so we listened to it together. It was an interesting story, and I enjoyed it. It told the story of an Australian family living in the slums of Sydney. Ruth Park was able to make the listener really understand and visualise each of the characters and wrote with incredible attention to detail.

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  • Nikkiee
  • 11-17-17

Loved it

Love it. Listened in one day. Can't wait to start poor man's orange. 10/10

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  • Anonymous User
  • 07-22-20

Best book I've heard for awhile

Join the Darcys from 12 and a half Plymouth St, Surrey Hills. In an adventure of life in the depression years of Sydney. The ups and downs of their story written as only Ruth Park can. Its a tear jerker one page, then your laughing the next page. The story is mostly around the Darcys but also includes in background sre their boarders. Ms Sheely and her disabled son Johnnie and Mr Patrick Diamond, with whom Mr.Darcy fights with every St.Patricks Day. Also it goes outside the family to some of the characters of Surrey Hills.
My one critique in this has nothing to do with the story but more the narrator. She does do different voices while narrating and some if them did make me cringe a little.
All up though, DO YOURSELF A FAVOUR.
Listen to this book. You won't regret it.

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  • Anonymous User
  • 02-18-21

Great Aussie tale.

An enjoyable performance of a classic Australian novel. Initially I was a bit taken aback by the reader giving each character its unique voice. As I got used to it it didn't bother me.

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  • Katherine Avery
  • 12-21-18

Ruth Park never fails to delight

Great book and brilliantly narrated. Even tackled teen pregnancy, probably a bit racy when it was first published.

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  • Chloe Starick
  • 05-19-16

A nice easy Australian story.

This is a great Aussie story, showcasing different characters and their differing personalities. So nice to hear a familiar accent.