by Tim Winton
'A fragmented, hilarious, crude, mystical soap opera.
In a rich Australian idiom, Winton lets his characters rip against an evocation of Perth so intense you can smell it' Sunday Telegraph Cloudstreet -- a broken-down house of former glories on the wrong side of the tracks, a place teeming with memories of its own, a place of shudders and shadows and spirits.
From separate catastrophes, two families flee to the city and find themselves sharing this great sighing structure and beginning their lives again from scratch.
Together they roister and rankle in a house that begins as a roof over their heads and becomes a home for their hearts.
In this fresh, funny novel, full of wonder and dreams, Tim Winton weaves the threads of lifetimes, of twenty years of shouting and fighting, laughing and grafting, into a story about acceptance and belonging. 'Imagine Neighbours being taken over by the writing team of John Steinbeck and Gabriel Garcia Marquez and you'll be close to the heart of Winton's impressive tale' Time Out
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 448 pages
- Publisher: Pan Macmillan
- Publication Date: 03/01/1998
- Category: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)
- ISBN: 9780330322690
Showing 1 - 5 of 5 reviews.
Review by sanddancer
Cloudstreet is about two families, the Pickles and the Lambs who live together in a large house at Number 1 Cloud Street in Perth, Western Australia. The families are very different, Sam Pickles is a doomed gambler, his wife Dolly is a drunk, whereas Lester and Oriel Lamb are hardworking Christians who have suffered a crisis of faith since their middle son, Fish was nearly drowned and left brain-damaged. The book follows the fortunes of these characters over a twenty year period, from the end of the Second World War to the 1960s.I know shamefully little about Australian literature, but saw this book recommended in a discussion on this topic and thought it sounded interesting as I like books about quirky characters and dysfunctional families. However, this book is much more than a standard family melodrama and has definite literary merits.Cloudstreet has a fragmented structure with each chapter broken down into titled sub-sections from varying perspectives that switch occasionally from the third person to the first person. The book begins with a beautiful poetic description of a picnic by water, but the significance of this is not immediately obvious, but is revealed later.The narrative is touched with hints of magical realism including a talking pig, and rich with symbolism, with the house and water taking on greater meaning. But along with these mystical elements, the book is grounded in history, with the spectre of war and the Depression looming over much of the narrative, Australia's politics and relationship with Britain mentioned repeatedly and the true story of a serial killer intersecting with the family lives.I enjoyed the story of these two families and was compelled to find out what would happen to them, but equally I feel this was a good choice for a book from Australia. Perth and how it changed over this period is vital, many of the characters do seem typically Australian without ever becoming stereotypes and the dialogue is littered with Australian slang (which should be familiar to anyone who has watched any Australian soaps!)
Review by evilmoose
Far more dreary than I was expecting for such a popular book. The scenes and language were interesting, but I found I struggled to get through it.
Review by PennyAnne
Brilliant, amazing, wonderful, fantastic - an absolute corker of a novel - Australian to its bootstraps. I loved this tale of the Pickles and the Lambs - have no idea why it took me so long to get around to reading it!
Review by celerydog
Likable, but not the great work I was expecting. I have enjoyed other Winton books more. Would make a good IGCSE/ IB / A level text.
Review by martensgirl
A perfect modern family saga; this book is laden with tragedy, symbolism, Aussie humour and rich, vibrant characters.There is more humanity in this book than a great deal of modern fiction. This is the funniest book I've read for ages!