peteg's blog - noise - books - 2013 11 06 TimWinton Eyrie

Tim Winton: Eyrie.

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Being Winton's first new novel since Breath in 2008, I raced out to the Co-op Bookshop at the University of Technology, Sydney on Jones St, near Pete R.'s work (and the CS department) and blew $35 on a hardcover. I didn't bother to read any reviews as Winton is uncritically deified in Australia.

Going in cold, I really enjoyed the masterful dialogue and his portrayal of crumbling lives. Most of the characters are women, tough women, and a singular friendless man, a wonky gudgeon for the ensemble to orbit. We're in Fremantle and the disgust with aspirational boganism is ambient and strong. Christianity and faith get another outing, paired with a suitable amount of scepticism that suggests not so much disbelief as (respectful?) wonderment. Was the ending hurried? I certainly rushed through it in three sittings, chewing up 250 pages in the second. I'm left wondering where else he could have gone.

On the down side, the opening is a bit too self-consciously try hard as Winton has futilely exercised the thesaurus to no good effect; soon enough he finds his rhythm and things get a lot tighter, so I guess we can blame the editor.

None of Winton's stuff really sticks with me. I don't fault him for that, but can't help wondering why. The reviews I read after are uniformly fawning and shithouse; Winton already said what he meant, and better.