Two years ago I found myself in Western Australia heading north out of Perth for an unknown destination. Stopped in a small town on the coast a friend turned to me and said “This is the town where Tim Winton lives.” I was frozen. Winton is a legend. Wildly successful writer, and one that Australians speak of with intense pride. I don’t know Tim Winton but I think I want to be him. Live in Western Australia and write novels. But wanting and doing are entirely different things, and if you read Winton you realize by about page two that you are dealing with a gifted storyteller. A good book provides sentences that create a mental image that you the reader are responsible for. The writer provides you these specific words, in a specific sequence, so the author is also responsible for the mental image, but you the reader take care of the specifics native to…you. “Breath,” is a novel that felt like it was written for me. I felt like I knew each of the characters intimately, but filtered through Winton’s story and back through my life. Surf, youth, risk, shark, love, family, Western Australia.
Just finished reading this based on your recommendation. Loved it so much I got hold of Dirt Music as well.
I’m in my early forties and there’s something utterly compelling about the way both books look back on specific instances of youth in a nostalgic and beautiful way. I guess it’s that transition when you slowly become aware that your youth is coming to an end especially as I was in Western Australia for a while when I was 20-years old. That landscape! Those memories!
When I am out cycling alone in the mountains nowadays I try to be on the lookout for those moments so that I can treasure then when I am a lot older. Winton’s books have made me realise that I’m not the only one out there doing this.
Did this THIS morning while on another ride from Lamy to Galisteo and the surrounding area. Riding with a friend and talking about childhood and high school era. I’m 47 but realized THIS was one of these moments. Stopping to think about the detail around you.