Book Review – the Harp in the South

The Harp in the South by Ruth Park


Since it was first published in 1948, this compassionate novel has become a favourite with generations of Australian readers.

The Harp in the South is a nostalgic and moving portrait of the eventful family life of the Darcys of Number Twelve-and-a-Half Plymouth Street in Surry Hills, a Sydney slum. There grow the bitter-sweet first and last loves of Roie Darcy, who becomes a woman too quickly amid the brothels and the razor gangs, the tenements and the sly-grog shops.

Ruth Park is a classic storyteller. In this novel she brings to life a community where, despite the odds, life is always exuberant and full of promise.


 A powerful book about the struggle to live in the tenements of Surry Hills.  Ruth Park draws pictures with her words, in such a way that the reader is fully engaged with the characters and their lives.

Among all the poverty and sadness there was a sense of joy and optimism.  Our group of readers thoroughly enjoyed this book and recommend it highly.


Dundas Readers Club 10/10