From that poignant Aussie writer, Tim Winton, comes a re-release of one of Australia's favorite novels - "Cloudstreet." The first edition of the story published in 1991, and now so many years later its relevance and beauty prevails. However, possibly more than just triumphs, it remains relevant and befitting to a certain age of the continent down, down under. But most importantly it's subtly reminds readers that fiction, like life, can rim its finger around the fragility of life. And it will always do that - and precariously so.
There are these tragedies that beat down two very different families: the wild Pickles and the laborious Lambs. However, it's not the tragedy that defines them; it's how they deal with it. Ultimately. The Pickles rely on good fortune and the Lambs in some slog. These two working class families somehow come together at One Cloud Street in suburban Perth and the story unfolds over two decades.
Winton, know for his devastating two novels "Dirt Music" and "Breath," has that superior ability to spell out the character's deepest emotions in such a way that it's ineradicable from your mind. Their hatreds, their anxieties and their great loves all flounder together in a heap - like fish fresh out of the water, caught with good intent.
In "Cloudstreet" the crafty Winton ventures into themes of life and what it means to truly be in it, and appreciate it fully as we are surely intended to do. The journeys of all the characters have to do with family and its significance in this life. It is a beautiful reminder of just how your personal journey is as much yours as it is your closest nearest-dearest's. And of course Winton, who is from Western Australia, brings many references to the very specific area of Australia to the novel and that is surely the reason for the country's great love for the novel (well, that and its sheer brilliance of course).
On and then there are all the magical things that keep happening in the book, peppered and drizzled in the pages as we contemplate life, home and life at home. Therefore, in all honesty, don't we all just want to go home? Winton knows something more about life than he lets on, and it's hidden in these pages.
by Tim Winton