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The Turning

4.04  ·  Rating Details  ·  2,972 Ratings  ·  220 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,
Jun 03, 2015 Mary rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Anything Tim Winton writes manages to leave me with a homesickness so deep that when I’m done, I want to quietly push his book across the table and pretend it didn’t happen. His prose is as achingly beautiful and raw as the coast, and his characters flounder around in a quiet melancholy.

8 years I’ve been away from home, Tim, 8 years, and one paragraph from you and it’s as if I never left.
Sep 30, 2012 Adair rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Sally Green
Mar 22, 2016 Sally Green rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I admit it's taken me a long time to finish this book of short stories, but I read the second half in one sitting and it was only then that I began to fall in love with it as it was only then that I realised the stories are linked. To be fair to myself I was reading the stories in the first half of the book weeks or months apart so I'd forget the characters/incidents that linked them. But in the second half of the book I began to see that there is a larger picture being painted of the community. ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
Nov 25, 2008 Jeanette "Astute Crabbist" rated it really liked it  ·  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
Jul 06, 2013 dean rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: read-in-2013
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
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
Mar 12, 2011 Jay rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Andrew Mcdonald
Oct 25, 2013 Andrew Mcdonald rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
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?
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
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
Oct 26, 2013 Sonja rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: short-stories
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
Jun 23, 2015 PattyMacDotComma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: short story lovers, people interested in country town dynamics,
I have always had a soft spot for short stories, and I've always enjoyed Tim Winton's. This collection is a mixed bag centred around Angelus, W.A. (said to represent Albany, I gather, but don't know) and the various people and families who cross paths with each other at different ages and stages.

Each story is self-sufficient, not a chapter in a novel, but the way they intersect shows us characters and situations from different viewpoints.

Winton inhabits them all well, particularly young boys. I
Oct 07, 2013 Monica rated it really liked it
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
Aug 18, 2012 Nick rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Some times you just have to invest those shekels.


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
Dec 28, 2014 Rod rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I've read this amazing collection of stories three times now. The first time, it was just a bunch of stories with a few connections and I found myself struggling at times to maintain interest - something that i had never experienced before with Winton's work. The second time around I was distracted and 'time poor'. But this time ... I put time into it. I focused. And all the connections clicked into place. The writing is just astounding, as gritty as the sand on the WA beaches and as salty as th ...more
George Ilsley
A splendid collection. Winton skillfully portrays the deadend hometown which gets under your skin and festers. You can leave but you can never escape. At times the jargon was unfamiliar (tracky dacks) but this just improved the local atmosphere. Like the peppermint trees which were everywhere.
Alumine Andrew
Aug 26, 2014 Alumine Andrew rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: my-favourite
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
Dec 08, 2010 Violet rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Ellie Gardner
May 10, 2016 Ellie Gardner rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is my favourite book of Winton's so far. I found every story very familiar and nostalgic, and I loved piecing all of the stories together to find a continuous and larger narrative. It's amazing how Winton can flesh out his characters in such a short space of time and to evoke feelings that we can all relate to. I loved this book and can't wait to see the film adaptation.
Ruth Gilbert
May 07, 2015 Ruth Gilbert rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Boy can that man write. Good work Mr Winton. Though perhaps not for those who are already feeling a little despondent.
Mar 09, 2016 Jackson rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Tim Winton's Turning is so startling in its simplicity, and so moving in its depiction of ordinary that I felt I had to make an account to leave a review. The setting, although perfectly described and created, I find almost irrelevant to the film. Instead perhaps, the idea that is highlighted the most throughout all the stories is the trap of the cycle failure and disappointment.

The beautiful yet melancholic narration of relationships and personal journey in the Turning looks at the extraordina
May 02, 2014 Roma rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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,
Feb 05, 2015 Vivien rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015-read
I don't generally like short stories as they don't really get anywhere but these ones featured the same characters at different stages of their lives and ended up being fascinating. However the thing that I took away from the book is how awful it must be to live in a remote town in Australia with no money!!!
Jul 11, 2014 Geoff rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 26, 2012 Deb rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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.
B. Mason
Jul 28, 2015 B. Mason rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Tim Winton's "The Turning" is an excellent albeit uneven thematically related collection of stories. The best are five, worst are around two or three but the bad certainly outweigh the good. The stories revolve around the lives of different characters who are either in relationship or grew up in the coastal Australian town of Angelus. The first half is near flawless and as the book progresses it looses its momentum. The best stories are those that are impactful yet also self-contained, which is ...more
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Play Book Tag: The Turning - Tim Winton - 4 stars 1 4 Apr 24, 2016 09:42AM  
2015 Reading Chal...: The Turning: Stories by Tim Winton 2 12 Feb 06, 2015 01:01AM  
  • Like a House on Fire
  • For Love Alone
  • The Tree Of Man
  • Lilian's Story
  • The Sound of One Hand Clapping
  • The White Earth
  • How to Make Gravy
  • Johnno
  • Out of Ireland
  • Eucalyptus
  • Carpentaria
  • Fortunes of Richard Mahony
  • The Harp in the South
  • The Trout Opera
  • Monkey Grip
  • My Brother Jack
  • Three Dog Night
  • The Drowner
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.” 16 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.” 1 likes
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