Sydneyside Reflections


published in June 2020

An unknown writer lands in Sydney for the first time. He knows nobody and has only one goal … For ten days, he will wander through the city on foot, determined always to record what he sees. Writing on beaches and park benches, in cafés and restaurants, and in long retrospective reveries in his hotel room, he clings relentlessly to his task, reflecting on the cityscape and its denizens, on its public art and its neighbourhoods. Day by day, page by page, he builds his portrait of this magnificent city by the sea, digressing into fantastic absorptions, spinning into concentric meditations, but always taking you, dear reader, with him … and making his experience yours.

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What people are saying about SYDNEYSIDE REFLECTIONS

Luckily, the alleyways and forgotten historical markers and even one significant seagull he observes become charged with meaning, for Crimmins is a great guide with a stunning array of knowledge—he is, after all, a writer who packs Chekhov novels to read on vacation. And while the street map of Sydney never fully crystallizes for us, it doesn’t matter; this trip is less about the sights than about the journey itself.

~ Maria Judnick, Heavy Feather Review


Crimmins peers into doorways and peels back layers. Along his walking tour, he experiences Sydney as ‘anodyne and affluent’, but also more: home to homeless muralists, historic pie carts, the world’s most expensive cigarettes and an alleyway of surprising discoveries. Part travel diary, part memoir, this set of reflections weaves together external and internal moments drawn from history, encounters with locals and other tourists, the pages of books and even the lone seagull who flies up George Street.

~ Michelle Elvy, author of the everrumble and editor of Flash Frontier


‘It’s a long walk home. But you are in the zone. The walking trance.’ Mark Crimmins’s superb prose turns and turns with all the intricacies and careful uncertainties of the hidden streets of Sydney. With hints of his master, Saul Bellow, he navigates by digression, and the reader goes with him into a world that hardly exists until it is seen. At once learned and streetwise, this journal of wanderings is a joy to read.

~ Richard Greene, author of Boxing the Compass, winner of Canada’s Governor General’s Award for English language poetry