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Athena woke at six o’clock in the morning. Philip was not there, nor had he been. The room was full of heavy, dark pieces of furniture. The impression that her presence made on the room was so slight that the turbulence of its former occupants, of a great line of passing strangers, swarmed and tumbled about her in its stuffy atmosphere: their boredom, their panic, their trembling fantasies: wire coathangers, shoes with worn-down heels, jumpers smelling of men’s sweat, trousers too long or too short for the fashion, bras with greying straps, skirts whose hems dipped at one side. She pulled back the curtains and expected them to fall apart in her hands.

-- From The Children's Bach by Helen Garner (page 145)

  1. First of all does "of a great line passing strangers" refer to "former occupant" and it means "a lot of strangers who had come to this room"? Or does it mean "strangers who was passing around her room"?

And I think she is imagining that this things (their boredom,...) are around her am I right?

  1. Does "trembling fantasies" according to examples that has come after colon mean: somethings that they have got and thinks they are fashionable but they are not really fashionable?
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I have not read The Children's Bach. Google Books gave me a few pages of context.

It would seem that Athena is ill, and possibly seeing things that are not there.

It seems that the "great line of passing strangers" are the "former occupants" of the room. Apparently Athena is or thinks she is, perciving these people, all strangers to her, and some aspects of them. Their "their trembling fantasies" are thoughts or feelings that these people had (or that Athena thinks they had) just as "their boredom, their panic" are. Whether the various clothing-rel; whether the things next mentioned ("wire coathangers, shoes with worn-down heels, jumpers smelling of men’s sweat, trousers too long or too short for the fashion, bras with greying straps, skirts whose hems dipped at one side") are the fantasies of this line of strangers" is hard to be sure of -- the grammar of the passage would seem to imply that they are. But when a text has a stream of consciousness particularly when the person is in a fever or otherwise hallucinating, as Athena seems to be, grammar ceases to be a reliable clue to meaning. It is probably significant that they are all clothing or clothing-related, but I am not sure wehat teh significence of this is.

Perhaps if I read the whole book this passage would be clearer to me.

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