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Shallows (Picador Books) [Paperback]

Tim Winton
4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
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Book Description

2 Oct 2009 Picador Books

One hundred and fifty years after the establishment of land-based whaling in Australia, its last outpost is Angelus, a small town already struggling for survival. Long-dormant passions are awakened by the arrival of the conservationists, who threaten the town’s livelihood and disturb the fragile peace under which its inhabitants live.

‘Full of strikingly described action . . . an imaginative reconstruction of primitive whaling and the personal suffering involved . . . Tim Winton, in this admirable novel, deals with pride, loneliness, longing for love and the struggle between nostalgic heroes and the heroism of compassion’ The Times

‘All this is dazzling, dazzling. It makes the heart pound’ Los Angeles Times

‘A moving and powerful elegy . . . Winton writes vividly, and with courage, about serious matters in a cynical world’ Observer

‘A major work by anyone’s standards . . . mysterious, painful and beautiful’ Washington Post


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Product details

  • Paperback: 304 pages
  • Publisher: Picador; New Ed edition (2 Oct 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0330319647
  • ISBN-13: 978-0330319645
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.9 x 19.7 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 219,926 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

Tim Winton was born in Perth in 1960. He has written novels, collections of stories, non-fiction and books for children. He is four times winner of Australia's Miles Franklin Award, most recently for his novel Breath, and has twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize, for The Riders (1995) and Dirt Music (2002).

Product Description

About the Author

Tim Winton was born in Perth in 1960. He has written novels, collections of stories, non-fiction and books for children. He is three times winner of Australia's Miles Franklin Award, and has been twice-shortlisted for the Booker Prize, for The Riders (1995) and Dirt Music (2002).

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Customer Reviews

4.0 out of 5 stars
4.0 out of 5 stars
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars The beginning of the end of whaling in WA 4 Mar 2012
By Blod
Format:Paperback
I have also read a good few of Tim Winton's books after getting hooked on them during my three months in Perth at the end of 2011. His stories are addictive, the only commom thread being the setting of WA. I have loved all of them so far - fortunately a few still to go! We were in Albany for a few days - where this book is set (he calls it Angelus). Visited the whaling museum and got a feel of what it was like for the families whose lives depended on the industry. Much as one cheers the end of whaling - the story was a tragic one for many in the town. In this context I read this book with much interest and it didn't disappoint. The gap between the young idealists ( most of whom were from Perth )and the townsfolk was enormous and heartbreaking. The characters are beautifully drawn - even if you dislike a few.
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3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Interesting subject but inconsistent 14 Jun 2011
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Wow, this is a first, to be the first to review a book. Well, let me start by saying that I chose this book because of its author, since I absolutely loved both Dirt Music and Breathe. However, "Shallows" is inconsistent, at best. If I didn't know what Winton was capable of, I would probably have given it 2 stars out of 3. But there are bits - where I recognise his style and I rejoyce. Overall, it is beautifully written, and the subject matter is very interesting. Despite the fact that the novel is set in 1978, the issue of the morality of whale-hunting is as vibrant today as it was then. I warmed to some of the characters (Queenie, Cleve, Daniel, the Reverend Pell, amongst others) but felt nothing towards others (Hassa Staats, to give an example), and even wondered what they were doing in the story - taking up precious space, given how much I enjoy reading anything Tim Winton writes! So at the end of the book I didn't feel the same sense of satisfaction I did when I finished Dirt Music and Breathe... but there you go, it's a good effort, and this book is still a lot better than most other books out there, especially if you're interested in anything sea-or-Western-Australia-related. Just don't expect a masterpiece...
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5.0 out of 5 stars How a family's and a town's history are entwined 10 Sep 2014
Format:Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Tim Winton's description of the landscapes where the characters belong to makes you feel as though you've been to those places yourself. Another excellent story from Tim Winston.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It lost me 14 July 2003
By Janice M. Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I gave this book 2 stars because I loved his other book _Cloudstreet_ and find the author to be amazingly talented.
Unfortunately, I could not get past page 82 in this slow, ponderous story. I gave it multiple efforts but found myself lacking any interest in these characters or their gripes. I initially felt an alignment with Queenie and backed her spontaneous efforts to protest the slaughtering of whales which is the only thriving buisness in the town she lives in. Her actions angered most of the individuals of the town and her newly wed husband, Cleveland. Cleveland is a low-aspiring fellow, not originally from the small whaling town, Angelus. He is pre-occupied by scrapbooks and reading the diaries of the town's expired elder Nathaniel Coupar who is Queenie's great grandfather. Meanwhile, her father, Daniel is a miserably depressed grump who has issues with everyone in town but can't express himself. Then we have another despicably repulsive realtor, Des Pustling, whom I thought could disgust me enough to dredge up some kind of interest to keep me turning the pages. Other bits of folk weave irritatingly in and out, but not enough to hold fast the effort.
I hate to give up on a book, and can not even remember the last time I did, so I kept hoping the story would pick up and grab me, but it just was so much work to stay interested.
There are too many characters to keep track of, and the timeline flips back and forth which was very distracting.
Meanwhile, I am moving on to _Dirt Music_ and _the Riders_; also by Tim Winton with higher expectations.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars a struggle 2 Mar 2010
By kirlena walsh - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback
I didn't like this book any more than An Open Swimmer. I found the flashbacks very confusing and the argot alienating (especially Winton's tendency to use brand names rather than generic ones - eg Zodiac for a type of boat. I often took too long to work out what he was talking about, as I don't know that specific lingo). In addition, the plot was boring, and there was not a single character that I even part-liked or could feel some empathy towards. I would shun the lot in real life, which meant it was not a pleasure to "briefly inhabit" Angelus. I had seen enough of this town by about chapter three. It was very difficult for me to feel involved in the events, despite the fact that I personally care very deeply about the fate of whales, and sympathise theoretically with the ideals behind the agitators who were trying to stop whaling. However, the actual individuals doing the protesting were as rebarbative as the ones mercilessly taking the lives of intelligent whales. No doubt that is Winton's point, but it didn't leave the reader much of a motive for staying with the book. I couldn't wait to be finished, and started skimming huge sections just to get it over with.
Despite that, I found Winton's writing style enjoyably poetic at times, and many of his descriptions were intelligent and interesting in their allusions. Had it not been for the moments of poetry embedded in this dragging plot, I would have abandoned the book before the end.
4.0 out of 5 stars a thought provoking and complex book 26 April 2014
By Petra Michael - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
This was not an easy book to read because of the subject matter which was about the whaling industry in WA and the fight to stop it. The harsh reality of what it means for a town to give up its livelihood amidst other redundancies in the state against man's inhumanity towards the whale. Tim uses flash backs to someones diary account from the 1880's to good effect. I was disappointed though with the ending as it was so sad. Won't spoil it for readers and say what happened.
3.0 out of 5 stars Not Sure 19 Nov 2012
By Catwhisperer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Kindle Edition
If one is not sure you like a book after finishing it...you are probably looking for reasons to like it out of loyalty to the author after being disappointed. After Cloudstreet & Dirt Music, one just 'expects' the things from Tim Winton that he does so well. Story, plot, and unbelievable descriptive imagery to enhance his wonderful characters.
Shallows has an average story (that could have been SO much better considering the era and topic (whale hunting for goodness sake...how do you dull that topic?), no plot, and is saved only by great characterization (even though they are all unlikeable).
It's not a dog...but it's no diamond.
1 of 3 people found the following review helpful
2.0 out of 5 stars It lost me 14 July 2003
By Janice M. Hansen - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
I gave this book 2 stars because I loved his other book _Cloudstreet_ and find the author to be amazingly talented.
Unfortunately, I could not get past page 82 in this slow, ponderous story. I gave it multiple efforts but found myself lacking any interest in these characters or their gripes. I initially felt an alignment with Queenie and backed her spontaneous efforts to protest the slaughtering of whales which is the only thriving buisness in the town she lives in. Her actions angered most of the individuals of the town and her newly wed husband, Cleveland. Cleveland is a low-aspiring fellow, not originally from the small whaling town, Angelus. He is pre-occupied by scrapbooks and reading the diaries of the town's expired elder Nathaniel Coupar who is Queenie's great grandfather. Meanwhile, her father, Daniel is a miserably depressed grump who has issues with everyone in town but can't express himself. Then we have another despicably repulsive realtor, Des Pustling, whom I thought could disgust me enough to dredge up some kind of interest to keep me turning the pages. Other bits of folk weave irritatingly in and out, but not enough to hold fast the effort.
I hate to give up on a book, and can not even remember the last time I did, so I kept hoping the story would pick up and grab me, but it just was so much work to stay interested.
There are too many characters to keep track of, and the timeline flips back and forth which was very distracting.
Meanwhile, I am moving on to _Dirt Music_ and _the Riders_; also by Tim Winton with higher expectations.
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