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y separately published work icon The Great Arch single work   novel  
Issue Details: First known date: 2008... 2008 The Great Arch
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'In 1924 the planned and long-awaited Sydney Harbour Bridge represents an impossible ideal - to span the great waters of the harbour and take a war-scarred nation into a dazzling future. No one is more enthusiastic than Reverend Ralph Anderson Cage of Lavender Bay, whose imagination is seized by the scale of this thoroughly modern vision.

'Ralph is a grand dreamer with all-too-human failings and in the Bridge, which he can see under construction from his Rectory verandah, he finds an obsession to last a lifetime. Sermons become paeans to the creative will of God - and the beauty of girders and pylons - and his parish papers wax lyrical about rivets and granite. But as he urges his long-suffering wife Stella, his children, his parishioners and the phlegmatic housekeeper Mrs Pessey to dream as big as he does, Ralph fails to notice those left behind by the bridge: the dispossessed families whose houses are destroyed in its path and the workers who lose their lives in accidents on its precarious heights. The Great Depression wears on, and the Bridge becomes a bitter reminder to his hungry parishioners of a promised prosperity that never comes. As Ralph invests everything in his obsession, the great arch he so loves and admires threatens to become his undoing.

'Inspired by true people and events, and as open and colossal as the bridge itself, Vicki Hastrich's deeply moving novel links two centuries, two world wars and two generations. By turns wickedly funny and breathtakingly poetic, this is the story of an ordinary man, and an ordinary life, made grand.' (Publisher's blurb)

Notes

  • Dedication: For Mum, a city and a bridge; and for Frank Cash, a second volume.
  • Epigraph: Is this a life to disregard? - Auguste Friand (1880-1918)

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

Works about this Work

The Sydney Harbour Bridge : From Modernity to Post-Modernity in Australian Fiction Paul Genoni , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 12 no. 1 2012;
'This paper considers a recent spate of novels that deal in various ways with the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. These include Peter Corris's Wet Graves; Alex Miller's Conditions of Faith; Vicki Hastrich's ; and Sarah Hay's The Body in the Clouds. It is argued that these novels, written so long after the bridge's completion, are each grappling with the transformation of this icon of Australian modernism into the significant component in the nation's foremost experience of postmodern urban space - Circular Quay.' (Author's abstract)
Untitled Sascha Jenkins , 2011 single work review
— Appears in: Reviews in Australian Studies , vol. 5 no. 1 2011;

— Review of The Great Arch Vicki Hastrich , 2008 single work novel
Untitled Sylvia Alston , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , March vol. 33 no. 1 2009; (p. 109-110)

— Review of The Great Arch Vicki Hastrich , 2008 single work novel
Spun from Four Horizons : Re-Writing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Susan Carson , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , December vol. 33 no. 4 2009; (p. 417-429)
'The Sydney Harbour Bridge provides an imaginative space that is revisited by Australian writers in particular ways. In this space, novelists, poets, and cultural historians negotiate questions of emotional and psychological transformation as well as reflect on social and environmental change in the city of Sydney. The writerly tensions that mark these accounts often alter, or query, representations of the Bridge as a symbol of material progress and demonstrate a complex creative engagement with the Bridge. This discussion of 'the Bridge' focuses on the work of four authors, Eleanor Dark, P.R. Stephensen, Peter Carey and Vicki Hastrich and includes a range of other fictional and non-fictional accounts of 'Bridge-writing.' The ideas proffered are framed by a theorising of space, especially referencing the work of Michel de Certeau, whose writing on the spatial ambiguity of a bridge is important to the examination of the diverse ways in which Australian writers have engaged with the imaginative potential and almost mythic resonance of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.' (p. 417)
Untitled Christina Hill , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , February no. 308 2009; (p. 31)

— Review of The Great Arch Vicki Hastrich , 2008 single work novel
Bridges Link Tales from Two Cities Catherine Keenan , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 10-11 May 2008; (p. 32)

— Review of The Comfort of Figs Simon Cleary , 2008 single work novel ; The Great Arch Vicki Hastrich , 2008 single work novel
Troubled Waters Katharine England , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 17 May 2008; (p. 22)

— Review of The Great Arch Vicki Hastrich , 2008 single work novel ; The Comfort of Figs Simon Cleary , 2008 single work novel
Cage's Folly Bridges Troubled Parish Diane Stubbings , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 31 May 2008; (p. 14)

— Review of The Great Arch Vicki Hastrich , 2008 single work novel
Untitled Christina Hill , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , February no. 308 2009; (p. 31)

— Review of The Great Arch Vicki Hastrich , 2008 single work novel
Untitled Sylvia Alston , 2009 single work review
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , March vol. 33 no. 1 2009; (p. 109-110)

— Review of The Great Arch Vicki Hastrich , 2008 single work novel
The Trouble With Frank : The Intersection of Fiction and Life : A Dissertation : Writing the Novel, The Great Arch Vicki Hastrich , 2008 single work criticism
— Appears in: The Great Arch : A Fictional Work The Trouble With Frank : The Intersection of Fiction and Life : A Dissertation : Writing the Novel, The Great Arch 2008;
Spun from Four Horizons : Re-Writing the Sydney Harbour Bridge Susan Carson , 2009 single work criticism
— Appears in: Journal of Australian Studies , December vol. 33 no. 4 2009; (p. 417-429)
'The Sydney Harbour Bridge provides an imaginative space that is revisited by Australian writers in particular ways. In this space, novelists, poets, and cultural historians negotiate questions of emotional and psychological transformation as well as reflect on social and environmental change in the city of Sydney. The writerly tensions that mark these accounts often alter, or query, representations of the Bridge as a symbol of material progress and demonstrate a complex creative engagement with the Bridge. This discussion of 'the Bridge' focuses on the work of four authors, Eleanor Dark, P.R. Stephensen, Peter Carey and Vicki Hastrich and includes a range of other fictional and non-fictional accounts of 'Bridge-writing.' The ideas proffered are framed by a theorising of space, especially referencing the work of Michel de Certeau, whose writing on the spatial ambiguity of a bridge is important to the examination of the diverse ways in which Australian writers have engaged with the imaginative potential and almost mythic resonance of the Sydney Harbour Bridge.' (p. 417)
The Sydney Harbour Bridge : From Modernity to Post-Modernity in Australian Fiction Paul Genoni , 2012 single work criticism
— Appears in: JASAL , vol. 12 no. 1 2012;
'This paper considers a recent spate of novels that deal in various ways with the construction of the Sydney Harbour Bridge. These include Peter Corris's Wet Graves; Alex Miller's Conditions of Faith; Vicki Hastrich's ; and Sarah Hay's The Body in the Clouds. It is argued that these novels, written so long after the bridge's completion, are each grappling with the transformation of this icon of Australian modernism into the significant component in the nation's foremost experience of postmodern urban space - Circular Quay.' (Author's abstract)
Last amended 8 Aug 2018 13:29:53
Settings:
  • Sydney, New South Wales,
  • 1920s
  • 1930s
  • 1967
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