The writing of Tim Winton has long been noted for its elegance, precision and keen insight into the human soul. With The Turning
, we are given one of the most precise and satisfying distillations of the novelist's art, albeit in what has long been something of an unfashionable form: the short story. The form is often regarded by publishers as something of a commercial liability, even though many great writers (from Somerset Maugham to William Trevor) have excelled in shorter fiction. But Winton, as well as being one of the finest novelists Australia has ever produced, is also a master of the form. The seventeen overlapping tales here encapsulate some of the most insightful observations that he has given us.
What makes the stories so unusual is the fashion in which Winton has managed to find the unusual within the everyday--here, ordinary people are subjected to extraordinary pressures, and everything from middle-aged loss to youthful vacillations of the heart crafted with great skill.
Winton (who was born in Perth in Western Australia) has published fifteen books and has won a variety of literary prizes. The stories here can only add lustre to his reputation. Big World is the story of a friendship between two undergraduates who take on unsatisfactory jobs one frigid January, such as sluicing the blood from the floor of a local meat factory. The duo set off by car in pursuit of diversion, and we learn that neither is particularly lovable (particularly the eccentric Biggie); as the tale advances, the narrator learns to his cost that friendship comes at a price. This immensely involving piece is written in the kind of lambent prose that often aspires to the condition of poetry, despite the banality of the two young men's lives. Similarly, The Turning deals with trailer life, and its unhappy, unfulfilled working-class women are brilliantly characterised. Whatever your feelings about the short story form, you will be doing yourself a disservice to miss this collection. --Barry Forshaw
--This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
‘Always a writer of crystalline prose, his lines of sinewy leanness achieve such clarity here that it seems one is reading line after line of perfect music . . . To read Winton is to be reminded not just of the possibilities of fiction but of the human heart’ The Times
‘The laureate of Western Australia is back . . . this is like Carver, happily with a very large dose of Winton’ Time Out
'These stories are threaded through with subtleties and oblique connections; to be fully appreciated, they need to be read more than once. But Winton's writing – vigorous, vivid, precise – is so good that you'd want to do that anyway’ Sunday Times
‘Sublime. Winton is a great writer’ Daily Mail
‘Vivid, elegiac and humorous . . . and told in a relaxed prose that frequently strikes sparks’ Daily Telegraph
‘Winton is marvellous at locating the small moment of crisis. His prose is leavened throughout by a kind of poetry . . . so exquisitely written, so precise in its construction, that it is a joy to read’ Sunday Telegraph
‘Winton is a poet of baffled souls . . . Always a writer of crystalline prose, his lines of sinewy leanness achieve such clarity here that it seems one is reading line after line of perfect music. His unbounded humanity and his sympathy for his characters descend on them like grace as they struggle to salvage their lives’ The Times
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