Dirt Music (picador 40th Anniversary Edition)
- Pan Macmillan
- Publication Date:
- 02 February 2012
- Modern & Contemporary
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This book is a very touching and emotional book. The characters go through different stages in this book such as boredom to exitement.
I finished Dirt Music (Tim Winton) with a sense of loss. I was sorry to see the story end, especially as no clear conclusion was reached. That's okay, I'm a grownup, I can handle there not being a defined ending (I've given up on happy endings). Without giving any spoilers, a few thoughts:Tim Winton is so detailed and thorough that you get a sense of every detail in the scenes. The weather, the feel of the dust on your skin, the smells of the eucalyptus, as well as the emotions of the character are felt, not simply read. I didn't care for the main female character, I thought she was unsympathetic and apathetic to other characters, even the one she loves. The male lead is great, but of course, it's fiction! He has to be THAT perfect to make it work. The main themes are overcoming your own personality flaws, and the fear of being left behind. Winton's main character Lu has lost everyone he loves; on this journey he meets several characters that could represent those faces from his past. He also has to face the reality that his own perceptions from the past may have been wrong. Horrifyingly so.Rumor has it that this will become a film. Rachel Weisz is signed to play Georgia, which sounds fine. But there is a bit of a mystery regarding Russell Crowe and Colin Farrell. IMDB, the movie database, lists Colin as playing Lu. However, another report says Russell would play Lu. The other main male character, Jim, is pretty fascinating: he could be played by Russell but defintely not Colin. So I'm not sure which is accurate. I hope that Russell plays Lu, but he could do the character Jim Buckridge with a bit of a evil streak which might be interesting to see. I'd be very interested to see how a screenplay could be written to show the amount of time passing as well as do justice to the Australian terrain and the long stretches without dialogue. My first reaction was that it would be compared with Tom Hank's Castaway. I think Russell could carry that, I don't think Colin has that much depth. Anyway, this book had me take out the atlas, the dictionary, and use Google several times to see the trees and earthforms he describes. I think a geologist would particularly like this book, lots of rock talk.Lastly, I've noticed that in the three Winton books I've read that Winton seems to idolize children, almost in a mythological way. That's not a bad thing, but it just seems that the children in his books develop almost a fairy like quality of mystery and perfection.
What do you do when your luck runs out? Some people let their lives become a bitter search for revenge. Others decide to defy fate: "Russian bloke told me once. Said we all die. But you might as well die with music. Go out big."Georgie Jutland has lived a chequered but adventurous life, fleeing from her family's bourgeois respectability. She's been as fearless about discarding men as she has about changing continents. But one day, she concludes that her luck has run out. She has lost the tough detachment she needed for her career as a cancer nurse. She has landed, like driftwood, in a feudalistic township in the brutal landscape of Western Australia. And without the self-confidence, her defiant brashness is starting to feel like empty bravado.The man she's currently with is Jim Buckridge, a widower and the king of his lobster-fishing town. He no longer rules with vindictive violence, as he did when he was younger and as his father did before him. They do not love each other, but they have found an equilibrium, although it gives Georgie less and less of what she needs. Then one day, in a spirit of self-destructiveness, she has a sexual encounter with a local ne'er-do-well, the polar opposite of Jim and a man seen by the townsfolk as coming from a family tainted with bad luck.This is a fantastic, complex read, about confidence, luck and coming to terms with the past. The landscape is almost a character in the book, described with lyrical beauty but inhospitable to human life. The writing is as vivid, spare and harsh as the landscape, with sentences whose significance you only realise pages later. There is real evil present in the town, but all the main characters are, to some extent, comprehensible and therefore forgiveable (not an easy call given some of the dynamics involved).
One of my favourite reads of 2006 and my first by this author. I don't know if distance lends enchantment but the western Australian coast was so vividly evoked for me that I wanted to fly there straight away.The prose is seemingly plain but at the same time poetic in an unstrained way.It's a journey novel with all that sort of novel entails but it certainly felt different to the American type road novels, though no wish to criticise the latter on my part.
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