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This book would win all the awards going if it had been written this year It stands the test of time well This was one of the first books I read when I first came to Australia 30 years ago And I still love it If you haven t read any Ruth Park, do yourself a favour And if you haven t read any in a while,likewise. I read this book when it first came out, over 30 years ago, and I remember love LOVE LOVING it The story of Jack, a young man with dwarfism in Australia during the depression, and his childhood love, Cushie, is engaging and enchanting And although Park did a great job of depicting the wild and harsh setting of Australia of the 20s and 30s, the themes of the story including loneliness, cruelty, kindness, resilience, love, and loyalty are universal.Having now read it three decades later, I I read this book when it first came out, over 30 years ago, and I remember love LOVE LOVING it The story of Jack, a young man with dwarfism in Australia during the depression, and his childhood love, Cushie, is engaging and enchanting And although Park did a great job of depicting the wild and harsh setting of Australia of the 20s and 30s, the themes of the story including loneliness, cruelty, kindness, resilience, love, and loyalty are universal.Having now read it three decades later, I find that it still holds up as a very good book with an excellent, unique and memorable story However, I didn t find myself loving it as much as before Maybe I ve become a pickier reader in my old age, but I was annoyed by two things First, there was soooo much Australian lingo in the story, I wish there had been a glossary At times, this was a real problem as it interferred with basic understanding Of course, if I had an e reader, perhaps I could easily look those words up Second, I became annoyed with the last chapter, as I impatiently awaited the reunion of Jack and Cushie The interjection of political turmoil at that point seemed to serve little purpose other than delay And finally, it seemed to me that their reunion, after all that had happened in the intervening years, warranted muchthan just a few paragraphs The reader is left with the feeling that the story should not have ended there.Still, even with those criticisms, I really enjoyed it once again I still love the basic story and thus have no problem giving this book 4 stars If Park had simply added a glossary and an extra chapter at the end, it would easily rate a 5 I have just started reading Ruth Park after all these years I knew of her books but had just never ventured to pick one up After listening to an interview with Ruth Park on a podcast from ABC Radio National, I liked the sound of her explanations behind her novels, so took the plunge.One of those epic books that follows almost what seems a life time, and although I think Jack is only in about his mid twenties at the end it begins with his childhood and his first adventure with the girl next doo I have just started reading Ruth Park after all these years I knew of her books but had just never ventured to pick one up After listening to an interview with Ruth Park on a podcast from ABC Radio National, I liked the sound of her explanations behind her novels, so took the plunge.One of those epic books that follows almost what seems a life time, and although I think Jack is only in about his mid twenties at the end it begins with his childhood and his first adventure with the girl next door, just prior to WW1 Jacks a dwarf and suffers for it all his life, although he s a pretty strong character with some pretty strong women behind him Some great descriptions of the hardships suffered during the depression and there were a couple of events during the book that almost left me in tears I won t elaborate for those that haven t read it.Couldn t put it down and kept reading it until late in the night Three and a half stars for this Miles Franklin winning book It s a strange mixture Park loves writing, being a writer, and she certainly has plenty of writing skills Her work is dense, almost overwritten in her effort to be very descriptive, imaginative and factual all at once Her plot suggests she wanted to include every possible aspect of life in 1920s and 30s Australia urban and rural, rich and poor, men and women, able and disabled , old and young , phew Written in the 1970s, her prese Three and a half stars for this Miles Franklin winning book It s a strange mixture Park loves writing, being a writer, and she certainly has plenty of writing skills Her work is dense, almost overwritten in her effort to be very descriptive, imaginative and factual all at once Her plot suggests she wanted to include every possible aspect of life in 1920s and 30s Australia urban and rural, rich and poor, men and women, able and disabled , old and young , phew Written in the 1970s, her presentation of being a dwarf was probably very compassionate at the time Now it grates The story involves swooping ups and downs for the main characters, Cushie, a well off girl, and Jack Hanna, a dwarf Sex and violence, incest, abortion, death and suffering are all adult concepts but the novel seems shallow, almost Young Adult in the way it handles these things It s a long read, I needed to push myself to finish it but I m interested in Ruth Park as I m reading her autobiography at present Her YA books of the 1970s, Playing Beatie Bow and My Sister Sif were both fantastic, and her Muddleheaded Wombat series is charming A heartwarming story Jackie has such courage and inner strength despite all the tragedies in his life I enjoyed reading of his relationship with Jerry, his Dad, especially in the latter quarter of the book when they had lost almost everything but each other In fact, I think I sympathised with Jerrythan Jackie who had youth, intelligence and a receptive mindset on his side Poor old Jerry had a lot to overcome and his perception of his own self worth was severely depleted by the drastic A heartwarming story Jackie has such courage and inner strength despite all the tragedies in his life I enjoyed reading of his relationship with Jerry, his Dad, especially in the latter quarter of the book when they had lost almost everything but each other In fact, I think I sympathised with Jerrythan Jackie who had youth, intelligence and a receptive mindset on his side Poor old Jerry had a lot to overcome and his perception of his own self worth was severely depleted by the drastic changes in lifestyle the Depression brought A wonderful window into a bygone era of Australia, this book brought memories of listening to stories of my mother and grandmother s lives in Darwin, how primitive many aspects of their day to day lives were I smiled when Jerry reminded Jack about his mother s habit of always burning the toast, and recalled fondly my grandfather s skilled old hands with a toasting fork Sad in many places yet still I found much beauty within the pages of Swords and Crowns and Rings If you love Harp in the South you will enjoy this I love Ruth Park s concise yet emotive writing She deals with themes of poverty and disadvantage in early 20th century Australia in a brutally honest way In this book she provides a fascinating account of the Great Depression in Australia and the years leading up to it Park, however, keeps the narrative focused on the emotional lives of real people, which means the deeply historical aspects of her writing never get boring or preachy In man If you love Harp in the South you will enjoy this I love Ruth Park s concise yet emotive writing She deals with themes of poverty and disadvantage in early 20th century Australia in a brutally honest way In this book she provides a fascinating account of the Great Depression in Australia and the years leading up to it Park, however, keeps the narrative focused on the emotional lives of real people, which means the deeply historical aspects of her writing never get boring or preachy In many respects, Park s exposition feelsaccurate and interesting than formal textbook history.Ruth Park character s are born into difficult circumstances and she makes them suffer terribly, while celebrating their very ordinary lives Despite these often dire circumstances, there is a peculiar joyousness and hope without drifting into over sentimentality underpinning everything Park writes It is this realism with heart I admire the most about her writing An excellent read with an important dollop of history to boot Not quite a good as Harp of the South one of the best Australian books but not far behind Swords and Crowns and Rings is the enchanting story of Jackie Hanna, a dwarf, and Cushie Moy, whose friendship as children matures into a love that survives hardship, misunderstanding and a social chasm that would separate lesser mortals They spend their childhood in an unremarkable Australian country town before World War I, where Jackie grows up believing that he can do and be anything His step father, Jerry Hanna, the Nun , is the rock on which this solid family life is based Peggy Hann Swords and Crowns and Rings is the enchanting story of Jackie Hanna, a dwarf, and Cushie Moy, whose friendship as children matures into a love that survives hardship, misunderstanding and a social chasm that would separate lesser mortals They spend their childhood in an unremarkable Australian country town before World War I, where Jackie grows up believing that he can do and be anything His step father, Jerry Hanna, the Nun , is the rock on which this solid family life is based Peggy Hanna who should surely be played by Anne Phelan in the TV series that begs to be made is his indefatigable mother Together they keep a grocer s shop, not smart enough for the Moys, who patronise the Hannas and express alarm that Dorothy Cushie might learn common expressions p24 To see the rest of my review please visit I only became acquainted with this author s work earlier this year when I read The Harp in the South trilogy This work is equally evocative I became addicted to the book and couldn t wait to find out what each chapter had to offer Must be honest and say if you are after a cheerful read dodge this little number.Park is brilliant at describing the early years of the 20th century Life was grim but evenso for Jacky Hannah, a dwarf and Cushie Moy, his childhood friend and eventually lover I only became acquainted with this author s work earlier this year when I read The Harp in the South trilogy This work is equally evocative I became addicted to the book and couldn t wait to find out what each chapter had to offer Must be honest and say if you are after a cheerful read dodge this little number.Park is brilliant at describing the early years of the 20th century Life was grim but evenso for Jacky Hannah, a dwarf and Cushie Moy, his childhood friend and eventually lover.Tragedy after tragedy separates them The Depression hits Australians hard I learnt a lot about this terrible era.Cushie finds a backbone and defies her greedy, miserable mother and Jacky loses his innocence to manipulative treacherous relatives and then suffers unbearable loss after coming to terms with his imposed circumstances.Makes what we complain about look pathetic Firstly, this is Ruth Park s masterpiece And that s really saying something considering she also wrote The Harp In The South trilogy probably the greatest I first read it in 1985 would have given it 5 stars then On 2nd read I wish there werethan 5 stars to give Park inhabits the hearts, minds souls of her ordinary, working folk as transcendentally as John Steinbeck The Grapes Of Wrath Firstly, this is Ruth Park s masterpiece And that s really saying something considering she also wrote The Harp In The South trilogy several other wonderful novels It is also, for me, one of the greatest ever Australian novels probably the greatest I first read it in 1985 would have given it 5 stars then On 2nd read I wish there werethan 5 stars to give Park inhabits the hearts, minds souls of her ordinary, working folk as transcendentally as John Steinbeck The Grapes Of Wrath Emile Zola Germinal, The Earth Her flair for character relish of language drew this reader in effortlessly swept me into the lives of Jack Cushie as they span the years from 1907 to 1932 The wonder years of their childhoods are contrasted powerfully with their grown up experiences as victims of the Great Depression Park chronicles how working people suffered the most disastrous consequences as a result of decisions they had no part in making The combination of scintillating writing heart breaking humanity will keep this story alive in my memory forever If you are yet to dip your toes into Park world, wait no longer ^EPUB ↾ Swords And Crowns And Rings ☜ She was the banker s daughter, a highborn, golden beauty He was a grocer s son, strong and proud, but fate had masked his strength and pride with a form that set him forever apart from other men Compelling need drew them together, A bewitching fantasy encircled and sustained them Then the Great Depression swept across Australia to impoverish the rich, humble the proud, and turn the poor into a stunned army of desperate vagrants and homeless vagabonds Expelled from their enchated realm, brutally seperated, they each clutched a secret, a promise a dream of finding each other in a harsh world where only a perfect love like theirs could survive, overcome and triumph