Georgie Jutland is a mess. At forty, with her career in ruins, she finds herself stranded in White Point with a fisherman she doesn't love and two kids whose dead mother she can never replace. Leached of all confidence, she spends her days in isolated tedium and her nights in a blur of vodka self-recrimination. One morning, in the boozy pre-dawn gloom, she sees, a shadow drifting up the beach below - a loner called Luther Fox, with danger in his wake.
'Awe-inspiring . . . There are few finer stylists writing in English today.' Chicago Tribune
'Wonderfully alive, inventive and assured.' The Age
'Vividly written in a seemingly efffortless prose that never puts a foot wrong.' Sunday Times (London)
'His prose retains the power to both to shock and to fill us with wonder.' The Bulletin
'A compelling novel.' Times Literary Supplement
'Beautiful, aching . . . compelling.' Washington Post
The stunning new narrative by Australian writer Winton (The Riders, nominated for the Booker), a tale of three characters' perilous journey into the Australian wilderness in efforts to escape and atone for their pasts, may just be his breakthrough American publication. At 40, Georgie Jutland, former nurse, inveterate risk-taker, incipient alcoholic and lifelong rebel against her prominent family, has moved in with widowed lobster fisherman Jim Buckridge, "the uncrowned prince" of the western seaside community of White Point. Although Georgie devotes herself to Jim's two young sons, their relationship is uneasy and somehow empty. When she's drawn to shamateur (fish poacher) Luther Fox, who breaks the law to keep his mind from tragic memories, the lives of all three begin to unravel. Lu, the lone survivor of a disreputable family of musicians who specialized in dirt music (country blues), is a memorable character, vulnerable and appealing despite his many flaws. When the White Point community resorts to violence against him, he heads into the tropic wilderness of Australia's northern coast, and the plot begins to challenge CBS's Survivor. With masterly economy and control, Winston unfurls a story of secrets, regrets and new beginnings. His prose, sprinkled with regional vernacular, combines cool dispassion and lyric concision. Geography and landscape are palpable elements: as the narrative progresses, the atmosphere shifts from the austere monotony of a seacoast battered by wind into spectacular gorge country, the bare desolation of the desert and the terrible heat of the tropics. But it's each character's inner landscape that Winston authoritatively traverses with his unerring map of the heart. 7-city author tour.