Book Club: Breath by Tim Winton

February 20, 2011

Image from the book show.

Our book club met to discuss ‘Breath’ by Tim Winton last week.

It was my first foray into Winton.

I have to say, I loved his writing. I found it a joy to read and will hopefully read more of his books. I am told that the content of this one was quite different to any he has written before, and I am glad of that. I’m not sure how to put it without giving the whole ending away. But I will say this….. I loved the water and surfing and dangerseeking aspects of the book, but it came to a point where it then felt very confessional, and I was not enjoying it.

I went from feeling very cool to be reading a book about surfing…. to ….well… a bit grubby and embarrassed to have the book in my hands in public.

The reaction from bookclub was less mixed than normal. We all liked the actual writing, although some felt it was very slow for a long time, and then rushed with a whole lot of details at the end. I think there may have been some sort of overarching ‘artiness’ going on here, so I didn’t mind.

When it came to discussing the book, we were all a little lost for words. Perhaps breathless. Maybe that’s a good thing.

Our next book is Dune  a science fiction novel written by Frank Herbert, and published in 1965.

Let’s hope it is an oldie…. but a goodie.


6 Responses to “Book Club: Breath by Tim Winton”

  1. Meredith said

    I was interested to hear what you thought of this book. I have read most of Winton’s books and thought he pushed things too far with “Dirt Music”…and was then told by a couple of friends not to read this current offering.

    My absolute favourite of his is “Blueback” which is a novella and if you loved the ocean aspect of “Breath” you will love, love, LOVE “Blueback” which captures life on the beach perfectly without all the other stuff! It’s a gem.

    My other favourite was “The Riders” which I read in three HUGE days. Come home from work. Read. Eat tea. Read till eyes are falling out of head. Sleep. Get up. Read. Go to work…until it was done. A real page turner. But that was maybe fifteen years ago. Wonder how I would find it now. Please let me know what you think if you ever read it.

  2. I was also interested to hear what you thought, because I love Tim Winton’s work on the whole, but I really didn’t like this book (for the same reason as you – I also found I didn’t enjoy his writing style in this one, but it could have been because I was so put off by the subject matter!).

    Don’t be put off by this one though! I really loved ‘Cloudstreet’ and ‘The Turning’. Dave loved ‘The Riders’. I think you’ll like all of them.

    • allysonadeney said

      Thanks Meredith and Nic,

      It looks like ‘The Riders’ and ‘Cloudstreet’ are floating to the top in terms of the next Winton read.

      I found it really hard to review this book for the blog, as I didn’t want to give things away…. but life is short…. so I wanted to say maybe don’t bother with this one….. but don’t write him off as a writer.

      I will read another.
      I feel like I really must read another, just to experience the beauty of the writing without the ambiguity of the subject.


  3. Meredith said

    I wasn’t going to mention “Cloudstreet” but I am very interested to hear that you liked it Nicole. I loved it but then I recognised the very street and the houses and the local history he was writing about…so a bit hard to be objective there. Excellent to hear that someone not local enjoyed it too.

    So Ally, you need to put “Cloudstreet” and “The Riders” and “Blueback” on the list. And then write a post about how you found them all.

    But no pressure. 🙂

    • allysonadeney said

      Ok Meredith.
      A few of the girls from bookclub had read ‘Cloudstreet’ too, and the recommendations were mixed.
      I will try and read all three…. I love a challenge. Will let you know how I go.

  4. Meredith said

    Good on you! I feel like I should do something for you in return. Like attempt some sort of upcycled crafty blog giveaway thing. And as it happens I have just such an idea brewing. Watch out, at a blog near, as Meredith takes on a co-ordinated craft project!

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