Winner of the Miles Franklin Award and recognised as one of the greatest works of Australian literature, Cloudstreet is Tim Winton's sprawling, comic epic about luck and love, fortitude and forgiveness, and the magic of the everyday.
After two separate catastrophes, two very different families leave the country for the bright lights of Perth. The Lambs are industrious, united and – until God seems to turn his back on their boy Fish – religious. The Pickleses are gamblers, boozers, fractious, and unlikely landlords.
Chance, hardship and the war force them to swallow their dignity and share a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet. Over the next twenty years they struggle and strive, laugh and curse, come apart and pull together under the same roof, and try as they can to make their lives.
‘This is that rare book, a novel of both heart and intellect. It pulses with a sense of wonder and shines with the clear light of truth.’ Robert Drewe
‘One of the great masterpieces of world fiction.’ Philip Hensher
‘If you have not read Cloudstreet, your life is diminished . . . if you have not met these characters, this generous community, these tragedies, the humour. It is so wonderful.’ Mem Fox
‘Cloudstreet is a comic, poignant and intelligent tour de force.’ Jim Crace
‘A groundbreaking Australian narrative [with an] irresistible combination of the domestic and the mythic.’ Thomas Keneally
‘Reading Cloudstreet for the first time was like a summer dream from which I wished never to wake.’ Gillian Mears
‘Cloudstreet is the sole epic of contemporary Australian literature: in it, Winton paints on the same canvas as Xavier Herbert and Patrick White.’ Geordie Williamson
‘A writer of tremendous zest, warmth and humour.’ Graham Swift
‘Reading Cloudstreet is like catching a wave.’ Kate Jennings
‘Eccentric heights and unrepeatable genius.’ Malcolm Knox
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Cloudstreet is an indelible family drama peopled with spirited characters who grapple with poverty and misfortune, and join together for moments of warmth, dark humor, and joy. This canonical Australian novel follows two working-class families—the Pickles and the Lambs—who share a dilapidated mansion outside of Perth for 20 years. The louche Pickles—whose patriarch, Sam, loses his right hand in an absurd guano-mining accident—exercise a totemic belief in luck; the Lambs are pious and industrious. Author Tim Winton skillfully rolls out the sweeping saga, drawing you in to the ebb and flow of serendipity and tragedy. He has an incredible ear for old-time Aussie vernacular, capturing the alluring lyrical rhythms of his characters’ speech.
``Luck don't change, love,'' observes Sam Pickles to his daughter Rose. ``It moves.'' Considerations of fate and love underlie Winton's ( Shallows ) wry novel, set in Western Australia, about two families thrown together in the years following WW II. Sam Pickles earns a modest living mining guano for nitrate until he loses his hand in an accident. Fortunately, the family inherits a rambling old house--the Cloudstreet of the title--in which they can live, although they still lack cash. The dilemma is resolved with the sudden arrival of the rigid, God-fearing Lamb family, whom the rather libertine Pickles take in as boarders. Following the quirky, deeply etched members of these families--``flamin whackos,'' in Quick Lamb's description--as they forge bonds and undergo travails, Winton explores the haphazard nature of human existence with a quietly focused ferocity. Featuring lyrical passages and rapid-fire, minimally punctuated dialogue, this satiric, affectionate family saga is tragic and hilarious--and often both at once. Winton shows himself a worthy successor to his countryman Martin Boyd, who portrayed the Anglo-Australian society of previous generations.
Two families that come together in cloud street. Their struggles, wins and complex personalities are expressed to make you think how lucky we are and your family is just like this.
Confusing bunch of words.
Fish is correct. There is a presence in the house, watching, hearing everything that goes on, and it’s you, the reader. Tim Winton’s characters are always well developed but the families of Cloudstreet will feel like your own, and you’ll experience every excruciating joy and sorrow right along with them. So many stories within the story, this is a great big sweeping book, one of his best.