peteg's blog

Tim Winton: Island Home.

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Kindle. The last thing I read by Winton was his earlier memoir, Land's Edge. This one is a grab bag of short pieces, covering parts of his early life up to now-ish. None of it really stuck with me, as I usually find with his work, but I've been quite distracted by my impending departure from Chicago and again cannot fault him. Winton observes that the Old World is so comprehensively denatured, and the view from there so anthropocentric that it is difficult to square with Australian geography, and often quite hostile to it. He doesn't talk about the New World so much, where the first national park was established; perhaps this space is simply too self-contradictory for his purposes, or never appealed as somewhere to visit or live. The attempted militarization of Australian culture via the Galipoli myth. Patrick White, Voss. He evokes long-gone Australian upbringings, of kids living on the edge of settlement and freely moving between squalor and urban comfort, of the isolation wrought by the motor car. The destruction of the Swan River. Grotty ways of turning whales and seals into money. More hermits. Some engagement with Aboriginal culture. The blue-ringed octopus. The reluctant environmental activist. Lockean property rights. A defence of his use of the demotic. Enough to make me wonder why I'm not going straight home.

The doco that accompanies the book. As always there is extensive coverage in the Australian media, none of it worth pointing at.