Melbourne's a city you get to know from the inside out - you have to walk it to love it. My favourite time to do this is at night. That's when you capture glimpses of people - eating, laughing, talking, arguing, watching TV and reading - through half-open terrace house doors and windows. That's when you see a shaft of moonlight shoot bright down a bluestone lane, though, as often as not, by the time you look up to see the source of the light a cloud has moved across the sky and the moon has disappeared. It is a city of inside places and conversation. Of intimacy. It's a city that lives in its head.
Melbourne begins on Black Saturday, the day that bushfires tore through the outskirts of Melbourne, destroying the townships of Marysville and Kinglake and shattering thousands of lives. In this bestselling book, Sophie Cunningham writes about what happened over the year that followed. She tries to capture the texture of the city, journeying into her own recollections of the city she grew up in and its history, along the way.
Sit through a heatwave, visit the drains underneath the city, participate in a letterpress workshop, wander alongside the Yarra now protected by its traditional custodians the Wurundjeri, cycle alongside tram tracks and cheer at the footy. Live through the drought before the storm, the rain before yet more fire and days of searing heat. Along the way Cunningham shares her Melbourne, its stories and its characters, loving and hating its weather all the while.
City of conversations, city of literature, layered and connected, Melbourne evokes the city's spirit and heart.
In her new Introduction Cunningham returns to Melbourne after a period away and reflects on how much her city has changed since Melbourne was first published in 2011: it is hotter, growing more trees and well and truly on the rise.