Fiction set in USA and EUROPE: the life of Maria Callas
Memoir of Nature and Landscapes, Western Australia
1st December 2017
Tim Winton’s novel “Cloudstreet” is often considered to be “the great Australian novel” and after hard graft on 10 books, this one became an overnight success. Landscape, he says is “where I begin, it’s the first character and the most important”. The country is large and it defines the inhabitants.
Here we review his latest book:
Island Home by Tim Winton, set in Western Australia.
This is a memoir of growing up in Western Australia, and a life-long love of the nature and landscapes of this vast area.
This, to me, reads like a series of essays on the author’s experiences of the landscapes of Western Australia, and the fun he had exploring and growing up within them. This makes it a great book for reading in short bursts. Winton vividly describes his experiences during the period 1988 to 2006, not in chronological order but in an order that flows well. He grew up free to explore the wilds of nature, including the swamps at the end of his street and compares the enclosed mountains of Europe with the wonders of the wide expanses of his homeland.
The excitement found within nature for a child growing up are wonderfully described, as is the thrill of driving miles to visit a shop! The differences between childhood in the author’s time – avoiding crocodiles, out all day – to the present, where his swamp is now a massive shopping centre are described beautifully, as are his concerns about the effect this “progress” is having on the ecology of the area.
I read the paperback version of this book. Having never visited Australia an e-reader might have been a good way for me to read this book, as much of the vocabulary was new to me so I had to google it, In so doing I discovered some wonderful flora and fauna I had never heard of before.
Tim Winton talks of the past, present and future of his country, its customs and peoples, and overriding all is the awesome power of nature and the outstanding landscapes that make up his Australia.
This is a short book, less than 200 pages, but every page is packed with interesting detail and every word an essential part of the whole. The cover is beautiful, the typeface is lovely, and complementing it all are wonderful illustrations. A wonderful gift for anyone with a love of Australia.
Definitely a 5* rating for anyone who loves Australia, or wishes to know more about this land. I’ve never been to Australia, possibly never will, so though great armchair travel for me, I wasn’t really the right audience for this memoir.
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