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Cloudstreet by Tim Winton, Review: Celebration of larrikin spirit

Cloudstreet won author Tim Winton the Miles Franklin Award and it is generally recognised as one of the greatest works of Australian literature.

Tim Winton Cloudstreet

Cloudstreet Synopsis:

Two rural families – the Pickles and the Lambs – flee to the city after separate catastrophes. They find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives again from scratch – and for twenty years, they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts.

Tim Winton’s funny, sprawling saga is an epic novel of love and acceptance. It is a celebration of people, places and rhythms of life that has become one of Australia’s favourite novels.

(Penguin Australian Classics)

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BOOK REVIEW

Sometimes I read an award-winning title and wonder what I missed. But in the case of Tim Winton’s Cloudstreet its Miles Franklin award winning status is clear from the outset.

In Cloudstreet Winton has employed highly artistic and literary prose to convey the story of the trials and tribulations of a ragtag group of characters thrown together by circumstance.

The woman and the daughter do not speak. The crippled man does not stir. The breeze comes in the window and stops the scene from turning into a painting.

Winton’s striking talent for depicting scene and mood adds gravitas to the commonplace. Cloudstreet is in effect a study of achingly real people with painfully real problems – their hopes and dreams, their strengths and their weaknesses. It highlights the value of loyalty and acceptance of our differences; how what we desire is often different to that which truly makes us happy.

I will admit to feeling a little at sea in respect to a few of the more surreal passages within this novel, but the depth of character development and moving and lively exchanges between the characters kept me engaged. All will be able to identify with at least some of the inner struggles faced by the eclectic characters that make Cloudstreet so iconic, even if simply the inability to express their feelings to those closest to them.

Winton’s stirring prose elevates the act of living each day to something worthy of deep respect and admiration. Cloudstreet is a  celebration of the Australian larrikin spirit alongside the sheer will and toil that not so long ago shaped our nation.

BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 5 / 5 — Overall 4.5

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Genre: Literature, Historical, Drama, Romance, Mystery

This title reviewed as part of the Aussie Author Challenge 2015.

Book to TV Adaption

Tim Winton’s novel was the basis for an award winning TV mini-series starring Kerry Fox, Geoff Morrell and Stephen Curry.

About the Author, Tim Winton

Tim Winton has published twenty-six books for adults and children, and his work has been translated into twenty-eight languages. Since his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the Australian Vogel Award in 1981, he has won the Miles Franklin Award four times (for Shallows, Cloudstreet, Dirt Music and Breath) and twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (for The Riders and Dirt Music). He lives in Western Australia.

Other reviews of Cloudstreet

GoodreadsABC Book Club, BlogcriticsKirkus ReviewsANZLitLovers

* Receiving this title free from Penguin Australia did not impact my ability to express my honest opinions in the review above.