Darlinghurst (a novel) & The scarred city : walking and writing in Razorhurst
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Darlinghurst (a novel) In 1927 Jim Stephens, young and new to Sydney, finds a job at a daily newspaper. His first assignment brings him into contact with a young, beautiful streetwalker called Nellie Cameron, the darling of the East Sydney underworld. Compelled by desire, he follows Nellie into the dark world of vice and violence that will set the course of his life for the next thirty years. In the present day, Sophie arrives in Darlinghurst following an unspeakable trauma. There she meets Michael, a darkly attractive figure whose will quickly dominates her own. This encounter triggers a chain of events that draw her deep into the nocturnal life of East Sydney, where she becomes entangled in a web of sex and danger that could tear her life apart. As their stories unravel, Jim and Sophie’s paths dovetail and entwine in subtle and strange ways; their two versions of East Sydney are distinct but, at the same time, eerily similar in their allure and treachery. As both characters traverse this urban landscape, they must learn to navigate it safely, or risk being consumed by it. The Scarred City: Walking and writing in Razorhurst This exegesis explores the relationship between walking and writing, with particular focus on the element of transgression – real or imagined, implicit or explicit – present in both of these things. Specifically, it examines the supposedly transgressive nature of walking in cities at night, of walking alone as a woman, and of doing either or both of these things as a person who writes. For the purposes of this discussion, I will consider the implications of writing and walking within the boundaries of East Sydney, the area comprising Kings Cross, Woolloomooloo, Darlinghurst, Surry Hills and Paddington. This part of Sydney, once known by the sobriquet Razorhurst, is a site with close conceptual links to writing and writers, walking, night, women – and to transgression of all kinds and degrees.
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