Covering a span of over thirty years in the life of the Darcy family, these three iconic novels from Ruth Park take us from first love to hardship via outback Australia and the streets of Surry Hills. In "Missus", we read about the adolescence and courtship of Hughie Darcy and the innocent Margaret in the dirt and dust of rural Australia. We next meet the pair in "The Harp in the South", where they run a flea-bitten boarding house in Surry Hills with their two daughters, Roie and Dolour. Making ends meet is hard in the slums of Sydney, and love is not kind to Roie as she takes her first steps into adulthood. Lastly we watch Dolour grow up all too fast in "Poor Man's Orange", as Hughie and Margaret struggle to keep their relationship alive after so many years together. At times confronting, often affectionate, this is a remarkable portrait of an Australian working-class family of the time.
The Harp in the South Novels
Born in New Zealand, Ruth Park moved to Australia in 1942 to continue her career as a journalist. She has written over fifty books, and her many awards include the prestigious Miles Franklin Award for Swords and Crowns and Rings; the Australian Children's Book of the Year Award and The Boston Globe-Horn Book Award (USA) for Playing Beatie Bow and the Age Book of the Year award for A Fence Around the Cuckoo. She was made a Member of the Order of Australia in 1987 and in 1994 was awarded an Honorary Doctor of Letters from the University of New South Wales. Ruth Park lives in Sydney.