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The Turning

4.03 of 5 stars 4.03  ·  rating details  ·  2,189 ratings  ·  169 reviews
Tim Winton is undisputedly one of the finest storytellers working in the English language. Now he gives us seventeen exquisite, overlapping stories of second thoughts and mid-life regret - extraordinary tales of ordinary people from ordinary places. Here are turnings of all kinds - changes of heart, nasty surprises, slow awakenings, sudden detours - where people struggle a ...more
Hardcover, 317 pages
Published 2005 by Picador (first published 2004)
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Hearing film director Bob Connolly being interviewed about the film adaptation of this volume of short stories made me pay attention to Winton, which I haven’t done since reading and loving Cloudstreet more than fifteen years ago.

The Turning consists of seventeen interconnected short stories, each of which deals with a significant moment in the life of the central protagonist – a moment of change, of insight or of revelation – which reflects the “turning” of the title. One character, Vic Lang,
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Nov 25, 2008 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Julie, Charisse, other Tim Winton fans
What Alistair MacLeod did for Cape Breton in Island, Tim Winton has done for Western Australia in The Turning. This is not to say that Winton writes like MacLeod. He doesn't. But both writers have created story collections that bring to life the corner of the world they know best, and in a quietly elegant way.

The Turning shows us working class Australian people trying to keep body and soul together in a stark and beautiful landscape. The time frame is mostly from the 1970s on.

This is one collec
Years ago I accompanied a friend to a dance performance in New York City. A dancer-choreographer from California, she’d come east especially to see the Merce Cunningham Dance Company. They danced to John Cage’s three note composition 4’33”. From my point of view, there wasn’t much going on. The performers padded onto the stage, took a position, and maintained it for the duration of what seemed to me like mostly silence. I sat bewildered, but my friend leaned forward in her seat transfixed. She g ...more
This collection of seventeen stories, set in the fictional Western Australia whaling town of Angelus, shows ordinary people searching for redemption in their broken, mismatched, violent, tedious lives. Tim Winton, with raw and beautiful prose, asks you not to flinch or to forgive but to witness these characters, their choices, and the circumstances, and to draw your own conclusions about the future of their souls.

Nine of these stories focus on the Lang family. In no chronological order, we see
The Turning is a collection of 17 interrelated short stories which, in their collectivity, could actually be seen as a novel built around the fictional town of Angelus, in Western Australia. Published between Dirt Music and Breath, the volume is another tour de force from the Australia writer who has twice been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

The stories, as all of Tim Winton’s adult works starting certainly with Shallows, are sharply wrought. There is not a wasted word and those words that
Not too long ago I woke up early one morning, tidied my room, left my phone and a note on my desk, took my car, and left home. It was aimless, really. Didn't get much further than my daily commute. Wandered around antique shops, ate at a taco place with a Grade B sticker on the window that I hadn't noticed until after I'd already ordered (not bad actually), stumbled on a cemetery and sat among the headstones until closing time, checked in at a motel and soaked in the bath for hours until I got u ...more
Shelleyrae at Book'd Out

In a series of compelling short stories variously connected by time, place and character, Tim Winton's The Turning explores the trajectory of ordinary lives irrevocably altered by disappointment, tragedy, struggle and the yearning for something different...something more.

Set in Western Australia, the stories feature residents with ties to the fictional coastal town of Angelus. Though Winton shifts back and forth during the lifetime of of one man, Vic, who appears in nine of the seventeen stories
Andrew Mcdonald
Western Australian cliche after cliche - no surprise for Winton, Australia's most overrated author, but even the whirlwind (willy-willy?) of terrible similes can't mask just how bad some of these stories are. Winton writing as a 14 year old girl is so excruciating, you need to turn your head away. I'm sure these will work better as film, but why bother?
When a wave breaks, the water is not moving. The swell has travelled great distances but only the energy is moving, not the water. Perhaps time moves through us and not us through it. The past is in us, and not behind us. Things are never over.

tim winton is actually a genius. i feel like he understands so many things that i will just never even come close to?
the way he uses language to tell you even the most inane things is sometimes literally breathtaking.

also, i'm totally going to brag for a s
I'd been really struggling to get the reading habit back recently, after a lengthy hiatus. I started reading The Turning, at Easter before going on holiday, and forgetting to take it with me. When I got back other things seemed to take precedence, and I almost had the beginnings of some sort of book phobia. I had been really enjoying these stories, all linked to a small fictional Aussie town called Angelus, however for some reason I just couldn't bring myself to start the next story, which was b ...more
I never wanted this book to end. I want to know more about the people in this book, about what’s in their hearts and heads. Tim Winton is the ultimate story-teller...both in novel and short story format. He’s able to say so much with so few words. He can build atmosphere with just a few sentences. There are times when I’m left completely speechless and I need to take a step back to absorb what I’ve just read. The stories in this book are about heartbreak, about growing up, about being grown up, ...more
Loving Winton at the moment, this is no exception - collection of short stories that all intertwine. Perfect for reading late at night, rugged up with a glass of wine.
Preferably with a degree of self loathing.
Mark Brisbane
I'm not really in the habit of writing reviews here, just because my opinion isn't as authoritative or informed as many of the other readers that grace this website with their reflections. But I think my rating deserves an explanation, not five-staring Tim Winton seems to be a pretty controversial stance to take, and one I don't take lightly.

I was once told by someone I respect highly that I wouldn't "get" Winton's prose until I was old enough. And I couldn't help but feel like what he meant to
I am Australian myself, however i have never been drawn to Winton's writing. Nonetheless, i did enjoy The Turning. The structure was amazing; it is actually an anthology of short stories based around a group of characters who may or may not have crossed paths in their lives. As usual, Winton's writing is beautiful and poetic. So why did i only give it 3 stars? Well, personally, i prefer to read novels containing adventure and fantastical elements, and am not drawn to raw and real life themes, su ...more
This is the first book by Tim Winton that I have read, and it was incredible! The Turning is a collection of short stories that will suck you in and spit you out exhausted and thankful for your own life.
I started reading this book because I was doing a project on him for school but ended up really loving it.
For the past couple of days I have been sick with what I think is tonsillitis, so that has meant plenty of time for sitting around reading. But last night I was particularly uncomfortable,
I admit that I do like Tim Winton's books. I'm not sure if it's the writing style that incorporates so much of the vernacular of the region that it reminds me of the good times I had when I lived there, or the stories themselves.

The writing style is one that I enjoy. The lack of quotations sometimes leads to confusion as to whether a character is saying something or thinking something but I find that I can read faster without them (and still maintain a good comprehension level).

Winton's descript
A collection of short stories. Started in summer of 2008, got halfway through, enjoyed immensely but put it down and went on to others.
Now finished the last half in one go, tonight, August 7 2009. And I wonder what took me so long to come back to it. My god he is a wonderful and effortless writer. He has a gift, and he gives it to us.
Winton sets up memorable characters, a sense of place and often uncomfortable situations in these connected short stories set in coastal WA. Characters range from rough and ready to tender and reborn; there is pain, guilt and sadness, and then there is light. I don’t think anyone captures small-town, coastal Australia like him.
Tim Winton is a beloved Australian author. I have only read one other novel by him (Breath), and I can certainly see a pattern emerging.

He writes about life in Australia. It’s gritty. It’s real. You can actually feel yourself immersed in the culture and people of another time and another place (for those of us who did not grow up in Australia). There is no ‘rose-tinted’ filter to his stories, yet I did get a sense of some nostalgia and some regret.

The Turning is a collection of short stories al
Alumine Andrew
This is Tim Winton at his best. A selection of short stories set in the same stretch of desolate Australian coast line and small town life. Most of the characters migrate from one story to the next so you get the sense that you are a fly on the wall, seeing a side of Australian life not easy to get close to.

It appears to be a seedy town and life, hard.You feel the dust, feel the relentless heat.
This book holds together beautifully and is a very satisfying read. Don't let this put you off if you
Mean: cruel, ignoble, humble, mediocre, niggardly… This collection of synonyms came to mind as I read through this collection of interrelated short stories. Mean characters in a mean seaside town loop around each other in a vortex of mean time. Independently, these are each very good, together; they present more layers of depth. The only hope in the midst of such “meanness” is the darkness of forgetting: intoxication, fantasies, flight. But, the darkness never lasts, death offering the only real ...more
Enjoyed this, although really need to read it again to understand the repeated characters. Looking forward to seeing the film this Film Festival.
Read a while ago, but recently returning to my consciousness in the form a series of short story films on our wonderful Australian ABC.
David Winger
I'm missing something, aren't I? Apparently Winton is marvelous. These stories seem simply competent to me. I want to give a flat 2.5 stars, but that's not an option. So I've upgraded him for being from Perth. I'm not even sure why that is. Is there really anything transcendent here? Even one line that will last? It all just seems so middle-brow. So bookclubish. So sentimental and empty. Maybe one day I'll see some small glimmer or what other people say is here. But for now, like a shadow in the ...more
I have greatly enjoyed the 3 Winton novels I have read. For me he is one of the great Australian novelists. I picked this collection of stories up maybe for the wrong reason - I wanted to read it before seeing the film adaptation and I wanted a quick read. Well it didn't turn out to be quick as I found I just could not be in this world for long periods of time. The stories were just so melancholy and maybe that is an indication of his great writing I was made so deeply morose by the text. The se ...more
Kathleen Hagen
The Turning, by Tim Winton, Narrated by Humphrey Bower and Caroline Lee, Produced by Bolinda Audio, downloaded from

This is a book of short stories, all with one thing in common, there is a turning, or change that brings about a different conclusion. Here are turnings of all kinds - changes of heart, nasty surprises, slow awakenings, sudden detours - where people struggle against
the terrible weight of the past and challenge the lives they've made for themselves. The narrators are two
This book was ok but certainly nothing special. It is a group of short stories that somewhat link together about growing up in a small country town and people's lives not turning out the way they had hoped. Each individual story does draw you in, and I did want to keep reading to see what happens and how well the stories do actually get tied together, but having reached the end, I have to say I was somewhat disappointed. For Tim Winton fans, you will probably like it, but for other people lookin ...more
Catherine Hurst
I'm ususally not a big short story fan, but I loved the ones in this book. Perhaps because the stories all take place in one community in Western Australia, and several of the characters appear in more than one story, it was a little more like reading a novel. Winton tells stories in the first and third person, inhabiting teenagers and adults of various ages, both male and female. Each story tells about a turning toward or away from something or someone, and the Australian land is prominently fe ...more
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Tim Winton was born in Perth, Western Australia, but moved at a young age to the small country town of Albany.

While a student at Curtin University of Technology, Winton wrote his first novel, An Open Swimmer. It went on to win The Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1981, and launched his writing career. In fact, he wrote "the best part of three books while at university". His second book, Shallows
More about Tim Winton...
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“...the past is in us, and not behind us. Things are never over.” 8 likes
“Time doesn't click on and on at the stroke. It comes and goes in waves and folds like water; it flutters and sifts like dust, rises, billows, falls back on itself. When a wave breaks, the water is not moving. The swell has traveled great distances but only the energy is moving, not the waves. Perhaps time moves through us and not through it.” 0 likes
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