Synopses & Reviews
Tim Winton's stunning collection of connected stories is about turnings of all kinds changes of heart, slow awakenings, nasty surprises and accidents, sudden detours, resolutions made or broken. Brothers cease speaking to each other, husbands abandon wives and children, grown men are haunted by childhood fears. People struggle against the weight of their own history and try to reconcile themselves to their place in the world. With extraordinary insight and tenderness, Winton explores the demons and frailties of ordinary people whose lives are not what they had hoped.
Set on a coastal stretch of Western Australia, The Turning ranges in time from the seventies to the present. A few characters appear in several stories, gradually revealing themselves and the sources of their obsessions and rage. Winton is a master at capturing the urgency of memory, the way an entire life can be shaped by one event deep in the past.
Yet these same broken lives often are illuminated and redeemed by nature, by the sheer magnificence of the Australian sky and sea. "Right now," says the narrator of one story, "I don't care what happens....In the hot northern dusk, the world suddenly gets big around us, so big we just give in and watch." In the presence of Tim Winton's immense talent, the reader, too, just gives in and listens.
"[S]pellbinding....Winton creates a sense of place so profound one can almost smell the oily fumes from marine slaughterhouses. More than isolated vignettes, Winton's stories are of a whole, seamless, sensuous, and utterly captivating." Booklist
"These stories convey the quiet authority of a man at ease in a fictional territory he can legitimately call his own...a writer whose work is informed by an intimate and unsentimental connection with a particular landscape and the lives it sustains." The Guardian (U.K.)
"The short story has become less popular in recent decades, but Winton's newest collection could convert confirmed novel readers....With this work, Winton...has something that is more than the sum of its parts. Recommended." Library Journal
"Winton writes with rare sympathy about memory and loss, and gruff tenderness about losers and dreamers. In The Turning, the same tropes and themes, the small towns and a stunning and unyielding landscape, offer him a great and enduring drama. He is a writer of supreme integrity and honesty." Colm Toíbín, author of The Master
"A writer of crystalline, luminous prose...Winton's unbounded humanity and his sympathy for his characters descend on them like grace as they struggle to salvage their lives. To read him is to be reminded not just of the possibilities of fiction but of the human heart." The Times (London)
"The beauty of Winton's work lies not in the hope to which some characters awaken, but in his skill at making grief palpable to readers who may be unscathed by the agonies that his characters suffer." The Observer (U.K.)
"Vivid, elegiac and humorous...The Turning bridges the gulf between short story and novel." The Daily Telegraph (U.K.)
About the Author
Tim Winton grew up on the coast of Western Australia, where he continues to live. He is the author of eighteen books. His epic novel Cloudstreet was adapted for the theater and has been performed around the world. His two most recent novels, Dirt Music and The Riders, were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has won the prestigious Miles Franklin Award three times, and in 1998 the Australian National Trust declared Winton a national living treasure. The Turning has already won the 2005 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.