Two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives from scratch. For 20 years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts.
"Dysfunctional Families Australian Style"
'I grew up on the world's largest island.' This apparently simple fact is the starting point for Tim Winton's beautiful, evocative and sometimes provocative memoir of how this unique landscape has shaped him and his writing. For over 30 years, Winton has written novels in which the natural world is as much a living presence as any character.
The remarkable true stories in The Boy Behind the Curtain reveal an intimate and rare view of Tim Winton's imagination at work and play. In Tim Winton's fiction, chaos waits in the wings, and ordinary people are ambushed by events and emotions beyond their control. Winton's own life has also been shaped by havoc.
Fred Scully waits at the arrival gate of an international airport, anxious to see his wife and seven-year-old daughter. After two years in Europe they are finally settling down. He sees a new life before them, a stable outlook, a cottage in the Irish countryside that he's renovated by hand. He's waited, sweated on this reunion. He does not like to be alone - he's that kind of man. The flight lands, the glass doors hiss open, and Scully's life begins to go down in flames.
"Good but not his best"
Here are turnings of all kinds - changes of heart, nasty surprises, slow awakenings, sudden detours - where people struggle against the terrible weight of the past and challenge the lives they have made for themselves. Beautifully crafted, and as tender as they are confronting, these elegiac stories examine the darkness and frailty of ordinary people and celebrate the moments when the light shines through.
"It just got better and better"
Georgie Jutland is a mess. At 40, with her career in ruins, she finds herself stranded in White Point with a fisherman she doesn't love and two kids whose dead mother she can never replace. Her days have fallen into domestic tedium and social isolation. Her nights are a blur of vodka and pointless loitering in cyberspace. Leached of all confidence, Georgie has lost her way; she barely recognizes herself.
"Good story, atmospheric"
Breath opens with Bruce Pike, now a paramedic, arriving too late to save a teenage boy's life. Pike's partner wonders why the boy killed himself. Pike knows he didn't. He doesn't know the boy, but he knows the story. He still lives with the legacy of his own adolescence.
"Powerful coming-of-age story"
The remarkable true stories in The Boy Behind the Curtain reveal an intimate and rare view of Tim Winton's imagination at work and play. In Tim Winton's fiction, chaos waits in the wings and ordinary people are ambushed by events and emotions beyond their control. Winton's own life has also been shaped by havoc.
Jerra and his best mate Sean set off in a beaten-up old VW to go camping on the coast. Jerra's friends and family want to know when he will finish university, when he will find a girl. But they don't understand about Sean's mother, Jewel, or the bush or the fish with the pearl. They think he needs a job, but what Jerra is searching for is more elusive. Only the sea, and perhaps the old man who lives in a shack beside it, can help.
Tom Keely's reputation is in ruins. And that's the upside. Divorced and unemployed, he's lost faith in everything precious to him. Holed up in a grim high-rise, cultivating his newfound isolation, Keely looks down at a society from which he's retired, hurt, and angry. He's done fighting the good fight, and well past caring. But even in his seedy flat, ducking the neighbours, he's not safe from entanglement. All it takes is an awkward encounter in the lobby.
Lockie Leonard, hot surf-rat, is in love. The human torpedo is barely settled into his new school, and already he's got a girl on his mind. And not just any girl: it has to be Vicki Streeton, the smartest, prettiest, richest girl in class. You don't have much of a chance when your dad's a cop, your mum's a frighteningly understanding parent, your brother wets the bed and then you fall in love at twelve-and-three-quarter years old.
Abel Jackson loves to dive. He's a natural in the water. He can't remember a time when he couldn't use a mask and snorkel to glide down into the clear deep. Life is tough out at Longboat Bay. Every day the boy helps his mother earn their living from the sea and the land. It's hard work, but Abel has the bush and the sky and the bay to himself. Until the day he meets Blueback, the fish that changes his life. Blueback is about people learning from nature.
"Short but good ... enjoyed it"
Whales have always been the life-force of Angelus, a small town on the south coast of Western Australia. Their annual passing defines the rhythms of a life where little changes, and the town depends on their carcasses. So when the battle begins on the beaches outside the town, and when Queenie Cookson, a local girl, joins the Greenies to make amends for the crimes of her whaling ancestors, it can only throw everything into chaos.
Tim Winton's characters are ordinary people who battle to maintain loyalty against all odds; women, children, men whose relationships strain under pressure and leave them bewildered, hoping, sometimes fleeing, but often finding strength in forgotten parts of themselves.
"Th reader doesn't do the writer justice!"
Ort knows that the sky is watching. He knows what it means to watch. Things are terribly wrong. His father is withering away, his sister is consumed by hatred, his grandmother is all inside herself, and his mother, a flower-child of the 1960s, is brave but helpless. Then a strange man appears at their door. That Eye, the Sky is about love, about a boy's vision of the world beyond, about the blurry distinctions between the natural and the supernatural.
Nothing's simple for Lockie Leonard. After he is dumped by his girlfriend, he goes back to being the loneliest kid in town. His loneliness subsides a bit after he befriends the weirdest human being he's ever met. And if that isn't enough, Lockie decides to save the planet.
On childhood holidays to the beach the sun and surf kept Tim Winton outside in the mornings, in the water; the wind would drive him indoors in the afternoons, to books and reading. This ebb and flow of the day became a way of life. In this beautifully delicate memoir, Tim Winton writes about his obsession with what happens where the water meets the shore - about diving, dunes, beachcombing - and the sense of being on the precarious, wondrous edge of things that haunts his novels.
Night falls. In a lonely valley called the Sink, four people prepare for a quiet evening. Murray Jaccob sees a moving shadow in his orchard. Across the swamp, his neighbour Ronnie watches her lover leave and feels her baby roll inside her. And on the verandah of the Stubbses house, a small dog is torn screaming from its leash by something unseen. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Lockie Leonard's survived the worst year on record. His first year of high school, settling into a new town, his mad love affair - it's all behind him. He's about to turn 14 and things are looking up. But the world of weirdness hasn't finished yet. His little brother's hormones have kicked in and that's not a pretty sight. His lino-munching baby sister refuses to walk or talk. His dad starts arresting farm animals for a hobby and his poor mum suddenly won't stop crying. Then an old flame comes scorching back into his life. Ouch!
Tim Winton's first collection of stories deals with men, women and children whose lives are coming apart and whose hearts are breaking. These spare, jagged stories, in which people struggle with change and disintegration, are vintage Winton.