- Paperback: 416 pages
- Publisher: Scribner; Reprint edition (May 13, 2003)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0743228480
- ISBN-13: 978-0743228480
- Product Dimensions: 5.2 x 0.9 x 8 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 101 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #232,562 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Paperback – May 13, 2003
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Dan Cryer Chicago Tribune [Dirt Music] is awe-inspiring....Tim Winton makes words into sounds into music into art. Against so persuasive a literary seduction, no resistance is possible.
Todd Pruzan The Washington Post Beautiful...compelling...Dirt Music's quiet intensity tightens as the story evolves from a domestic drama into an epic quest.
Karen Valby Entertainment Weekly [A]n intense read, raw and beautiful, studded with shards of rage.
Adam Woog The Seattle Times Dirt Music is an...astonishing blend of pell-mell sensation: unreasoning love, grief, the need to escape, desire, fulfillment.
About the Author
Tim Winton grew up on the coast of Western Australia, where he continues to live. He is the author of eighteen books. His epic novel Cloudstreet was adapted for the theater and has been performed around the world. His two most recent novels, Dirt Music and The Riders, were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has won the prestigious Miles Franklin Award three times, and in 1998 the Australian National Trust declared Winton a national living treasure. The Turning has already won the 2005 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.
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`Dirt Music' takes place in a small fishing town in Western Australia (a fictitious town called White Point) where middle-aged Georgie Jutland is trying to find herself. She's always been a rebellious and free-spirited woman; at odds with her family constantly, never truly feeling as though she belonged anywhere. She's longed for a sense of freedom that everyone around her seems to take away, but she lacks the ability to make the needed effort to really save herself from her apparent failings. She lives with widower Jim Buckridge; a shell of a man who drowns himself in fishing and remains a distant and reclusive mystery to Georgie. She feels as though she loves him, but she struggles with understanding why. She cooks for him, she cleans his house and she takes care of his two sons, but at the end of the day she feels alone and cold.
And then she meets Lu.
The man known as Luther Fox comes with some serious baggage. A beautiful musician who comes from a dishonorable family; Fox has been reduced to a shamateur (fish poacher) due to some unspeakable tragedies in his life. Let's just say that he his the sole survivor to the Fox name. When Georgie spots Fox poaching late at night it is her obligation to inform her husband, a local fisherman. This is their way of living and this man is encroaching on that. Instead of playing informant she decides to play desperate housewife and starts up a heated affair that is far more than just a one-night stand type thing. No, it becomes apparent that both Lu and Georgie fill a void within one another; a void they've been trying to fill for a long time.
The novel effortlessly paints these characters for us, giving us a realistic and authentic portrait of middle-aged despair and self-awareness. Winton's descriptive prose is littered with beautiful expressions of pure emotion and his languid delivery is a joy to read.
My one critique, if I were to have any, would be that at times he expounds too much on areas that need little expansion. He goes to great lengths to flesh out each and every move these characters make, and the prose spans over a good length of time, and so some scenes could have been cut and some time could have been shortened to keep the pacing a little brisker in areas, but in the end it is a trivial complaint when you consider the richly rewarding entirety of the novel. I felt that the novel's ending was a tad premature (even if the novel spans nearly 500 pages), but it was not a disappointment in the least; it just felt a little too sudden for what I was expecting.
Some novels take a full chapter to wind things down; this one almost feels like the ending is on a solitary page.
It's still the best thing I've read in quite some time, and certainly a masterful example of pure storytelling at it's finest. I'd highly recommend this one. If you enjoy a good dramatic story, filled with love, loss and ample amounts of genuine (and realistic) tension then dive right in, for `Dirt Music' covers all those bases and then some.
But all the internal stressing didn't suit me - prefer a bit more action so only a 3 from me.
Georgie falters from one ill-fitting relationship to another, until she ends up moving in with Jim Buckridge, a widower with two scrappy sons and a very successful fishing business in a small town on the Western coast of Australia. The Buckridges are a prominent family there, and Georgie becomes by day the caretaker of children, home, and man. At night, she tries to quiet her inner restlessness with alcohol and long hours on the Internet, until one night she takes her restlessnes outside to the beach, where she happens upon the truck and dog of a fisherman poacher. She trades the Internet for watching this man's activities, befriending the dog and following him until she discovers where he lives. Her fascination with Lu Fox takes her into a new kind of relationship, and Winton renders well the effortless obsession of love. Lu has a tragic family history of his own, which drives him to abandon the music he once prenaturally played with his dead relatives.
More than a love story, though, this chronicle of tragedy and loss steers its characters through the contrasting diversities of human adaptations from small town to urban to solitary scavenging on the harsh coastal landscape. And despite human missteps and loss, there is in Winton's vision the possibility for redemption.
This novel isn't so much about a journey of self-discovery or self-absorption as it is about a rite that unlocks the characters' ability to accept another's love. This is a book that could be reread many times and deliver fresh discoveries each time.