Cloudstreet is described as an Australian classic and I was really looking forward to reading my first Tim Winton novel, but I’m afraid I was a little bit disappointed.
The book follows two working class families who are forced to live together in the same large house in a suburb of Perth. Set over a thirty year period, beginning in the 1930s, it started off well, building up each character vividly, but by about 100 pages in I was beginning to lose interest. The story was too gentle for me and although the writing was beautiful I found myself becoming bored.
The large number of characters further distanced me from the emotions of each individual. The plot was slow and rambling, focusing on minute details of their lives. I’m sure that a lot of people will love this, but I prefer a bit more action in my books.
The ending of the book was also a bit strange – it just seemed to stop, without tying up many lose ends. I felt as though my book was lacking the last few chapters. I don’t mind ambiguous endings, but this didn’t even seem to do that. It was a bit like the ending of Sea of Poppies in that respect, but at least we are expecting a sequel for that.
Another problem I had was that I found some of the Australian dialect difficult to understand and this was further hampered by the large number of Australian slang words used.
Overall, I can see why Australians adore this book, but I’m afraid it was too gentle for me.
Tim Winton is the only author to win the Miles Franklin award 4 times and I am still interested in reading his other books.
Have you read any of them?
Which is the best?