Georgie Jutland Is A Mess At Forty, 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 One Morning, In The Boozy Pre Dawn Gloom, She Looks Up From The Computer Screen To See A Shadow Lurking On The Beach Below, And A Dangerous New Element Enters Her Life I m on a bit of a Tim Winton kick at the moment For years after reading and loving Cloudstreet I ignored his work Now it seems that I can t get enough of it And yet, for some of the time I was listening to the audiobook version of this novel, I wasn t sure how I felt about it It has everything that I love about Winton s writing down to earth Australian English, realistic dialogue, flawed and complex characters, rich symbolism, striking imagery and a strong connection with the natural world However, there were times when the pace lagged and I wasn t sure where Winton was taking his characters It all came together at the end in a way that made me hold my breath, but it did take rather a long time to get there The ending of the novel is ambiguous, but I was in an optimistic mood when I finished listening and I chose to interpret what happened in a positive way Maybe that s just because I d become very attached to the central characters, Lu and Georgie, and I wanted them to find what they d been looking for The audiobook was narrated reasonably well although not brilliantly by Suzi Dougherty While I didn t mind listening to her, I won t be going out of my way to listen to her narrating anything else I also formed the impression that she may have been given an American edition of the novel to read Unless there s something about Western Australian idioms of which I m completely unaware, I can t imagine that Tim Winton would refer to a mobile phone as a cell phone, or to a filing cabinet as a file cabinet.
This is a flawed, but still a powerful and haunting work a 4.
5 star read Lu and Georgie are going to stay with me for a long time.
This book is a descriptive marvel You feel yourself there You are one with the characters in their pain and their wrestle with memory and their attempt to come to terms with their wrecked lives Even long after reading the final page, you feel like Georgie Jutland, Luther Fox, and, perhaps, Jim Buckridge, are persons you ve known for a long time And through their lives you look at your own in a new way.
Tim Winton definitely does a great job of describing the West Australian landscape but the story characters didn t hold my interest at all Maybe it was the complete lack of quotation marks for speech WHY I seemed to be always stopping to work out if it was speech or thoughts etc, that I just didn t become involved with the people who I didn t find likeable at all or what was going on.
When I think of Australia, I think of orange desert, furry animals, the ocean, snakes, big rocks, dirt roads, land, a LOT of land As a country with one of the lowest population density, it is easy to fantasise about vanishing into the endless land ahead and leaving civilisation behind It is not that romantic though, think about the sun burn, dehydration, windstorm, and boredom that would drive you insane You know how famous landmarks bridges, skyscrapers, tend to gather people with suicidal intention So why do so few people choose say, the Simpson desert, as their final destination I don t know much about psychology, but I think one of the reason is the effort it would take to consciously die in the wilderness, or rather, the agony of it There is not instant death but you can t be a permanent hermit either It is like punishing yourself in a a hotel with five star view in hell Dirt Music revolves around three people Georgie Jutland, the private school educated nurse who is married to Jim Buckridge, a fisherman in small town Western Australia and Luther Fox, a retired musician whom Georgie has an affair with Dirt Music is also much than the relationship between them, it is a platform of self reflection and alienation The connections between the characters are superficial, they are merely titles imposed on them by the intolerant, close knitted community they exist in It is no coincidence that the three protagonists are drawn to the wilderness, albeit for vastly different reasons They seek redemption and enlightenment through the epic journey into this little island at the edge of the Indian ocean where the ending takes place To me, it is the ending that makes the read remarkable, everything is so obvious, inevitable, they are broken people to start with and end up choosing to exile to the harsh Australian landscape A down side is that the characters tend to be static like the environment Dynamic personalities are compromised by constant self pitying and dull monologues Most of the time they brood and sulk around in between gorgeous exploration of the outdoor Dirt Music is a sentimental book and I am absorbed by its rural charm Imagine yourself, alone at night, overlooking an infinity of messy mangroves, dark water and thick twisted tree This is what reading the book feels like, you are involuntarily terrified by the mystery and danger, yet the beauty is almost touchable Winton captures the spirit of the typical Australian bogan culture, but at the same time gives it another dimension that city dwellers are ignorant of.
Tim Winton has a vast vocabulary, creates intense imagery and writes beautifully about our land, Australia He had me transfixed on WA, inland and coast both arid and vivid I want to explore the beautiful Coronation Bay, even if it s only make believe This is my last unread book from the 2002 Man Booker shortlist, which is the topic of a current discussion in The Mookse and The Gripes group I am also planning to read several from that year s longlist This for me is the weakest of the six books, but it was still an interesting read.
The story is largely set in the wilder parts of coastal Western Australia It has three central characters and their relationship is something of a love triangle, but to portray the book in those terms would be a gross misrepresentation It is much about misfits and drifters and their attempts to find a place to survive in hostile terrain, which makes it like an Australian western All of the three main characters have secrets they are scarred by and hide from one another, and only at the very end is any concession made towards a happy resolution.
At the heart of the book is Georgie, a drifter who has arrived in the fishing village of White Point on a boat with an ill equipped sailor she wants to leave She finds a place as the partner and housekeeper of Jim, a successful local fisherman and unofficial policeman of the local community who lives in the shadow of his violent dead father s reputation Georgie becomes intrigued by Luther, who has been poaching fish at night and has his own past as a musician whose family have all been killed in a car crash he survived After a brief and impossible liaison with Georgie and reprisals from the White Point rednecks, Luther takes off on a trip north with a plan to attempt to live on his wits as a fisherman on a much wilder part of the coast Georgie begins to settle for her life with Jim, but he conceives a trip north to find Luther.
This book is full of colourful Australian vocabulary, some of which stuck quolls, spinifex and others which I didn t check It is uncompromising and quite long, in fact too long to hold my interest throughout for me it could have been edited down to something a lot punchy, but it is still quite a memorable read.