It is 1924. The dusty, snaking streets of Sydney are a hive of ex-diggers, widows and orphans. Albermarle Darcy, DSO, is one of those returned to a world turned on its head, his mother dying of the influenza and all his childhood friends either dead or mad. So he appears to have made a covenant, "a pact, you see/with this new world of ours", turning his back on it all with a line off the Darling street pier - "in a port city/it is still possible to turn your back on the world/and still have it there."
One of Albie's touchstones is the game of cricket, and one of its most promising local proponents, Archie McKinley, a fragile lyrical batsman with an over-protective sister who mans the club scoreboard with our hero watching the world through a tiny square of light "the running back and forth/the unsettled equation/like a world being born."
"The novel is shot through with nostalgia, loss, hunger, and a rich sense of setting....a lovely, evocative book, full of rich imagery and sensual moments." - Maggie Ball