Set in western Australia, this new work from Winton (whose The Riders was nominated for a Booker Prize) follows the mercurial life of Georgie Jutland, who has moved into Jim Buckridge's home in an isolated fishing community. A former nurse who has survived some harsh postings in foreign lands, 40-year-old Georgie had spied Jim three years previously on a beach in Lombok, Indonesia, and is now trying to lead a settled life with him and his children. Jim is a widower trying to raise his two sons, who are none too pleased with this new living arrangement and make degrading comments about "stepmoms." One night, during a bout of insomnia, Georgia hears a boat engine start up at an odd hour and realizes that someone is heading out to fish before most fishermen are awake. Thus begins her association with Luther Fox, local outcast and poacher, as their lives intertwine in a journey through love, regret, and death. In deft prose, Winton explores the idea that maturity gives someone a better or at least a different perspective on life. He also looks at thorny issues such as familial love, modern relationships, and the impact of death. Filled with big ideas, interesting characters, and an intriguing plot, this novel is recommended for all public libraries. Robin Nesbitt, Columbus Metropolitan Lib., OH Copyright 2001 Cahners Business Information.
The anticipation of waiting seven years to slip again into the trance of Winton's wonderland assures a loyal readership for Dirt Music, which is more like The Riders than his earlier work. Georgie Jutland is only pretending to live life in a fishing village when the mysterious Luther Fox falls fatalistically into her path. Luther's past is gut-wrenchingly tragic, while Georgie's is full of bad decisions, and Georgie's partner, town hero and fishing king Jim Buckridge, is grappling with his own demons. We see the three of them struggle with their grief and love against the harsh backdrop of the West Australian coast. Once again, landscape plays a big role in Winton's work and, as always, he brings it alive: taste the dust, feel your skin sting in the searing heat. Beyond mere description, the land and the ocean become living, breathing creatures - each detail observed, from the bark on the trees to the ants on the ground - that nurture or torment the people upon them. Winton's skill with language, his casual way of slipping in unusual words, and painting memorable images, while keeping it so simple, clean and meaningful, is again evident. But, despite the language, Dirt Music is not all enchantment - its trauma and pain linger. Winton's characters are real, flawed by the intricacies of human nature, and just as with the earth, that rawness is exposed. Tim Winton is something very special; a national literary treasure. Joanne Shiells is the assistant editor of AB&P. C. 2001 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors
The stunning new narrative by Australian writer Winton (The Riders, nominated for the Booker), a tale of three characters' perilous journey into the Australian wilderness in efforts to escape and atone for their pasts, may just be his breakthrough American publication. At 40, Georgie Jutland, former nurse, inveterate risk-taker, incipient alcoholic and lifelong rebel against her prominent family, has moved in with widowed lobster fisherman Jim Buckridge, "the uncrowned prince" of the western seaside community of White Point. Although Georgie devotes herself to Jim's two young sons, their relationship is uneasy and somehow empty. When she's drawn to shamateur (fish poacher) Luther Fox, who breaks the law to keep his mind from tragic memories, the lives of all three begin to unravel. Lu, the lone survivor of a disreputable family of musicians who specialized in dirt music (country blues), is a memorable character, vulnerable and appealing despite his many flaws. When the White Point community resorts to violence against him, he heads into the tropic wilderness of Australia's northern coast, and the plot begins to challenge CBS's Survivor. With masterly economy and control, Winton unfurls a story of secrets, regrets and new beginnings. His prose, sprinkled with regional vernacular, combines cool dispassion and lyric concision. Geography and landscape are palpable elements: as the narrative progresses, the atmosphere shifts from the austere monotony of a seacoast battered by wind into spectacular gorge country, the bare desolation of the desert and the terrible heat of the tropics. But it's each character's inner landscape that Winton authoritatively traverses with his unerring map of the heart. 7-city author tour. (May 15) Copyright 2002 Cahners Business Information.