I have been reading Tim Winton since he won the Vogel back in 1981, and I am a great admirer of his writing. In his new book, his powers of description are very apparent - the only other person who comes close to his descriptions of the western coasts for me is the poet John Kinsella. I dare say anyone familiar with Fremantle will see the area faithfully depicted in all its hybrid vigour.
The main character, Tom Keely, is holed up in a faded apartment block with million dollar views; he has no plans for the future, a pretty disturbing present, and a past which is only sketchily understood by the reader. When a new resident turns out to be a girl from his old neighbourhood, with custody over her detached and fey grandson, Keely finds himself reluctantly connecting with them.
I took a while to get into the story, and I came away unsatisfied with the narrative. Winton spins a believable world populated with people on the edge, but unlike every other vaguely annoying book of his where the story just ends without resolution, I found myself annoyed that I had followed the characters through to yet another non-conclusion, and not understood what had happened. I also wondered if Winton's involvement in conservation causes had shaken him so much that he had to unload some of the negativity into this novel? This is not to say it isn't full of fine writing, but as a librarian friend of mine says, "Winton can sure write, but he can't end a story for peanuts!". This time, I have to agree with her!
Buy this book at Abbey's (131 York Street Sydney) ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers