Friday, June 06, 2008

Tim Winton's 'Breath'

We've previously recommended the Australian writer Tim Winton's recent short story collection, The Turning. His new novel, Breath, is also set in a vividly recreated Western Australia, and, like many of the short stories, examines the nature of male adolescence, as the narrator (now a paramedic) looks back at how he grew up in the company of his crazy best friend Loonie, and how they interacted with the charismatic Sando and his mysterious wife Eva. Winton is particularly good at capturing the infatuations of the narrator, Pikelet, not the least of which is with surfing, and about which he writes :

How strange it was to see men doing something beautiful, something pointless and elegant.

The book goes on to examine the nature of how our selves cohere and harden, especially at moments when we may turn out to be either ordinary (like most) or extraordinary. The idea of 'breath' runs through the novel, from the tragic opening scene onwards. Winton's writing is always crisp and evocative, capturing the unforgettable and unforgotten physical exhilaration of young boys. The whole, relatively short, novel is itself an exhilarating and sometimes breathless ride through damage and regret.

See the author's Breath micro-site here, with MP3 readings, links to reviews and more. Below, the official trailer.

No comments: