Tim Winton's characters are ordinary people who battle to maintain loyalty against all odds; women, children, men whose relationships strain under pressure and leave them bewildered, hoping, sometimes fleeing, but often finding strength in forgotten parts of themselves.
'Like Hemingway, Winton writes prose in which you can hear the thumping of the heart of the long-distance swimmer, or the rasping heaving breath of the asthmatic.' Times on Sunday
'A poignant collection of spare, understated tales about ordinary people battling to preserve the relationships they treasure in the face of many troubles.' Cleo
'Shows more clearly than anybody ever has how catastrophe, suffering and love can survive together in one little room.' Los Angeles Times
Beginning with his first novel, published when he was 21, the Australian author's works have all earned prizes; so too has this memorable collection of 14 stories, which won the Miles Franklin Award. The most intimate and sensitive of the tales center on incidents affecting a young family: Jerra and Rachel Nilsam and their baby Sam. Working their way through crises that imperil their marriage, the prickly couple makes its survival extremely important to the reader. The relationship is particularly at risk in ``Gravity,'' when Jerra takes the little boy on an outing and they return late for a big party where dear friends are gathered. Rachel is cool in her anger; the guests transparently hide their hurt and Jerra can't force himself to ``smooth things over.'' His thoughts are on his father, recently dead, and he realizes the impossibility of explaining the loss. Jerra's loneliness and questions about life end in an ineffably sweet moment that proves love endures and needs no explanation. All the selections are strong and beautifully written, but those about the Nilsams stay longest in one's memory.