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The Turning: New Stories Hardcover – September 13, 2005

4.3 out of 5 stars 66 customer reviews

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The Underground Railroad
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"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent tour de force chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more
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Editorial Reviews

From Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. Well-known in his native Australia and twice shortlisted for the Man Booker, Winton (Dirt Music, etc.) is overdue for wider recognition in the U.S. This collection of linked stories showcases his strengths: memorable characters colliding with the moments that define them—for better or worse—and clean, evocative prose that captures the often stultifying life in smalltown Western Australia. In the title story, Raelene, a young wife and mother living in a trailer park with her abusive husband, Max, becomes fascinated with her happy new neighbors; the seemingly perfect couple's influence sets Raelene on a muddled path toward self-examination, resulting in a transformation shocking for both its brutality and naïveté. "Sand" reveals Max's cruelty as a young boy—he tries to bury his younger brother alive—while "Family" shows the two brothers meeting again as adults, with the balance of power between them shifting dramatically. Another character, Vic, is central to the book: he appears as an awkward adolescent fixated on unattainable older girls, as a young man coping with the legacy of his father's alcoholism and abandonment, and as a middle-aged man unable to come to terms with his past. Winton reveals a wide but finely turned swath of simmering inner lives; the sweetness of these stories, as well as their sharp bite, feels earned and real. (Sept.)
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From Bookmarks Magazine

Painful, raw, eloquent—these tales comprise a powerful defense for a much maligned genre, the short story collection. It’s no surprise that many of the stories here have been previously published in literary journals like The Threepenny Review. Winton’s language is taut, his characterization masterful, and the local color pitch-perfect. But what truly sets these stories apart is their emotional impact: they are subtle yet stirring and sensuous. Winton has been short-listed for the Booker Prize twice and is acclaimed in his native Australia. This collection will likely earn him the attention he deserves in the United States.

Copyright © 2004 Phillips & Nelson Media, Inc.

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The latest book club pick from Oprah
"The Underground Railroad" by Colson Whitehead is a magnificent novel chronicling a young slave's adventures as she makes a desperate bid for freedom in the antebellum South. See more

Product Details

  • Hardcover: 336 pages
  • Publisher: Scribner; First Edition edition (September 13, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0743276930
  • ISBN-13: 978-0743276931
  • Product Dimensions: 6.1 x 1 x 9.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.2 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.3 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (66 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,224,269 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Hardcover
Tim Winton's latest book 'The Turning' is a collection of short stories, narratives that are to some extent connected, in that the same places feature in the book and the same characters come in and out of the stories.

Most of the characters in the stories have been in some sort of trouble of one kind or another and have been damaged. They are all at some turning point in their lives, where they are facing up to what has happened to them in the past and trying to work out who they are, before they set off into the future.

"There are turnings of all kinds - changes of heart, nasty surprises, slow awakenings, sudden detours - where people struggle against the terrible weight of the past and challenge the lives they've made for themselves."

Winton's depiction of the world of small-town Western Australian life is expressed with precise realism. He uses sensory detail to convey the atmosphere of the setting. Winton's use of the senses lets the reader share the intimacy of living in a small-town. However, Winton also illustrates the drawbacks of small-town life.

Winton's prose is simple and yet powerful. The characters are all interesting and he makes the reader think. You will read this book and want to read Winton's other books as well. Highly recommended.
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Format: Hardcover
for those of you who are yet to discover Tim Winton he is a legend here in Australia and you are in for a treat! Most of his novels are set in Western Australia - our country's largest,yet least poplutated state which is dreadfully hot in summer but full of magnificent surf beaches, stunning scenery and some of the best wineries in the world. I spent much of my childhood in Perth and Winton writes so well I spend weeks having flashbacks - I can smell the sand during our summer holidays.

The book is a series of short stories that turn out to be linked in some (often very subtle) ways. I cant recommend it enough - or any of his books for that matter - see Dirt Music.
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Format: Hardcover
There's a special appeal to the "linked" short story collection. Although the same names and places appear, each is new with the next story. The desperate men, the battered wives, the confused and bewildered children. They interact in their own ways, coming together and breaking apart over the years. In the hands of a master storyteller like Winton, each tale is a spark of reality. Every individual comes almost startlingly alive in but a few pages. As the sequence unfolds through the view of the protagonist, you gain fresh insights on circumstances. Absolute values have no place here, a lesson most of us would do well to remember.

The tales are set in a coastal town in Western Australia. Angelus is a fishing community - often under stress from unemployment, it is a contained locale. Children grow up as neighbours, move through school together, and interact in almost wildly varying ways as they mature. There are mysteries - why was a boy left broken and battered on a beach? Who was the girl found dead in a school loo and how did she die? Who escaped the almost desolate town and how bound do they remain to it in later years? These are common situations and questions in a small town, and the economic pressures add intensity to the expected conditions we all endured in adolescence. It is a credit to Winton's outstanding prose skills that beauty emerges within this forlorn community. A coastal location always provides a sense of expanded view lacking in inland towns. Yet here, as almost everywhere in Australia, the desert looms as an ever-present menace, poorly understood and a block to escape even mountains fail to match.

Vic Lang, the character around whom these stories weave, emerges first as a young child at a beach party. His life is complex.
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Format: Hardcover
Sometimes Mr Winton seems to be straining to be profound riddling his books with impressive literary devices - or maybe I'm too dumb to recognise great art. But with THE TURNING he seems completely at ease and as a consequence the stories ring with a truth - an emotional and spiritual truth firmly set in a believable landscape. The title story about Raelene's physical and spiritual journey, is in the patois of we Australians - a ripper! Mr Winton's great contribution to world literature may indeed be the way in which he is liberating the Australian language and bringing the voice and stories of our caravan dwellers, fishermen, and other inhabitants of small town Australia - working and otherwise - to the fore.

The Lockie Leonard trilogy and THE TURNING I expect have joined or will be joining our collective memories much as Blinky Bill, Ginger Meggs and Voss already have.
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Format: Hardcover
If you are looking for writing that takes your breath away and stories that make you look deeply into yourself and your life and the lives of others, then read this book. You will not be disappointed.
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Format: Paperback
My introduction to Tim Winton was as a result of watching Robert Connolly's 2013 film based on this collection of short stories. The film was provocative and thoughtful, and proved to be a touching and sensitive look at the trials and tribulations of real people in small town coastal WA. What I saw was enough to make me pick up the book, and I wasn't disappointed at the literary quality of Winton's writing that is evident in this award-winning collection.

Throughout these 17 stories, Winton offers a poignant look at the hearts and lives of real people, and especially excels in giving us a glimpse of their struggles and heartache. As others have noted, recurring themes include sentimentality, regret, companionship and substance abuse. It's worth mentioning that much of the landscape of Winton's characters reflects his own upbringing and teenage experiences in the 1970s, living in a small coastal town; those familiar with this setting will recognize much.

One cannot help but feel moved at the pain, hurt, and confusion that Tim Winton accurately captures and conveys in his stories. But this is not a collection to read in order to feel uplifted. There is a sense of helplessness and pain that is often left resolved, and while this is a true picture of the lives that Winton is writing about, it is also a depressing picture, one that offers little hope. Readers may find themselves feeling some despair, because reading these stories won't do much to lift the human spirit. But it will create a strong sense of empathy, in which you can expect to share in the sadness, sentimentally, and regret experienced by Winton's characters.

As such, while it's not a pleasant read, in this collection Winton uses literature well to give a clear picture of the broken world we live in.
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