Wednesday, September 25, 2013

Athena K's Review - Dirt Music

Tim Winton fills Dirt Music with severely damaged characters - and I'm not sure I was able enough to like them enough for the novel to work for me. Georgie Jutland is a natural caregiver who isn't caring for anyone, including herself, and is on a downard slope to alcoholism and self destruction. The man in her life is Jim Buckridge, a blokey Western Australian who may never get over the death of his wife. And, after a one night stand, the other man in her life is the much younger Luther Fox, who should be a soleful musician but who makes a living as an illegal fisherman because he is haunted by violence and loss. Its not clear how any of these characters can be redeemed, and they certainly try to find redemption and healing through each other. But plot twists take us into implausible waters and Winton ultimately did not hold my attention.

What did captivate me about this book was Winton's beautiful sense of place - the coasts and interiors of Western Australia. Perhaps because I spent some time living and traveling in Western Australia, I felt his images were incredibly evocative. I could really picture the light - the harsh mid-day glare, or the golden dusty sunsets permeated nearly all of his scenes. He captured perfectly the essence of small town Western Australian life without relying on stereotypes or characatures, which I really appreciate. Still, I didn't enjoy it enough to recommend it to anyone I know.

I completed this book on December 19, 2012, and have been very late in posting my review.

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