31 October, 2013
Book Review: Dirt Music
From Goodreads: Luther Fox, a loner, haunted by his past, makes his living as an illegal fisherman — a shamateur. Before everyone in his family was killed in a freak rollover, he grew melons and played guitar in the family band. Robbed of all that, he has turned his back on music. There's too much emotion in it, too much memory and pain.
One morning Fox is observed poaching by Georgie Jutland. Chance, or a kind of willed recklessness, has brought Georgie into the life and home of Jim Buckridge, the most prosperous fisherman in the area and a man who loathes poachers, Fox above all. But she's never fully settled into Jim's grand house on the water or into the inbred community with its history of violent secrets. After Georgie encounters Fox, her tentative hold on conventional life is severed. Neither of them would call it love, but they can't stay away from each other no matter how dangerous it is — and out on White Point it is very dangerous.
Set in the dramatic landscape of Western Australia, Dirt Music is a love story about people stifled by grief and regret; a novel about the odds of breaking with the past and about the lure of music. Dirt music, Fox tells Georgie, is "anything you can play on a verandah or porch, without electricity." Even in the wild, Luther cannot escape it. There is, he discovers, no silence in nature.
Ambitious, perfectly calibrated, Dirt Music resonates with suspense and supercharged emotion — and it confirms Tim Winton's status as the preeminent Australian novelist of his generation.
Thoughts: Ah Tim Winton, you've done it again! Winton's characters are so flawed and damaged you wonder how they manage to get out of bed in the morning! But he drags them out and makes them expose themselves to the reader, using the harshness of the Australian landscape as a perfect, brutal back drop. Winton's description of the landscape are awe inspiring. A few words and you are standing there on the baking blacktop, clear blue sky with an overly bright sun above, rugged cliffs plunging to a perfect sea on one side, scrubby, stunted bush on the other as you shade your eyes and feel your skin burn.
Georgie and Fox are both hiding from their past - or ignoring it. Fox's pain especially leaks off every page. Georgie's need to save him so blatantly a way to avoid her own issues.
Don't read Winton expecting a fairytale ending...in fact don't expect an ending at all! He will leave you hanging, the last line an open statement that resolves nothing. My love for Winton is so large he is the only author where this doesn't annoy the shit out of me! In fact, if he ended any other way I would be disappointed. Needless to say, my love affair with Winton and his writing continues.
Challenges: Aussie Author Challenge