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3.97 of 5 stars 3.97  ·  rating details  ·  10,336 ratings  ·  807 reviews
Hailed as a classic, Tim Winton's masterful family saga is both a paean to working-class Australians and an unflinching examination of the human heart's capacity for sorrow, joy, and endless gradations in between. An award-winning work, Cloudstreet exemplifies the brilliant ability of fiction to captivate and inspire.
Struggling to rebuild their lives after being touched
Paperback, 426 pages
Published June 6th 2002 by Scribner (first published 1991)
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Adam Stevenson Well, I wasn't all that keen on hearing about the young girl's 'hammy crotchstink' to be honest. But it does raise in tone to something sort of…moreWell, I wasn't all that keen on hearing about the young girl's 'hammy crotchstink' to be honest. But it does raise in tone to something sort of spiritual. (less)
P.W. James It does get very annoying. More than once did I question the usefulness of chapter titles when what followed was only a paragraph or so.…moreIt does get very annoying. More than once did I question the usefulness of chapter titles when what followed was only a paragraph or so.(less)
The Book Thief by Markus ZusakCloudstreet by Tim WintonTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenThe Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloughA Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
Best Modern Australian Literature
2nd out of 315 books — 392 voters
The Thorn Birds by Colleen McCulloughTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenA Town Like Alice by Nevil ShuteCloudstreet by Tim WintonPicnic at Hanging Rock by Joan Lindsay
Best Books Set in Australia
4th out of 549 books — 301 voters

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Community Reviews

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Here's how my reading of Cloudstreet progressed:

First week: Ok, this is pretty good, I guess.

Second week: Hm, I don't know about this.

Third week: Oh god, I think I'm going to throw up. Seriously, I think I'm going to throw up and I'm not kidding. Ok, I'm actually gagging on the subway.

Fourth week: Ok, I have to read my book, but I know it will make me nauseated. I just know it.

Fifth week: GOD this book is a bore.

Sixth week: Hey, this is pretty good . . . . Ok, it was going pretty well for a whi
Tim Winton is a most spiritual writer. It's shameful in a world of bloated, overachieving prose that screams to the top of best-selling lists that someone as connected to the forces of nature and the foibles of man should be so little known.

Cloudstreet chronicles the aching, bitter, crude, and sweet fortunes of two Australian families, the Lambs and the Pickles, from 1944-64. Brought together by need, greed, tragedy and a mysterious Other, the families' stories collide and spring away over the
Ben Winch
It's over 15 years since I read this and I may not read it again in a hurry, but I remember liking it despite Winton's name being mud in my house thanks to an envious writer-father who couldn't understand why he kept getting all the grants. Not even Mum would defend Winton in those days, though she'd come out swinging for Peter Carey, someone I've never been able to stomach. And the truth is until Cloudstreet Tim Winton was probably the sort of writer who, had he suddenly vanished into obscurity ...more
Jeanette  "Astute Crabbist"
If you think your family is strange, you're probably right, but they can't be any weirder than the Pickles and the Lambs. For twenty years the two families occupy the same sprawling, rundown, semi-haunted house in Perth. Through walls and windows they overhear and observe each other's joys, lamentations, and secrets. When Mrs. Lamb moves out of the house and pitches a tent in the yard, then everyone on Cloud Street knows things are not strictly normal in the Pickle/Lamb residence.

For a long tim
Oct 31, 2007 Annie rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: people who have read the Bible, those who enjoy Australian accents
Not to be hyperbolic, but I adore this book and I wish I could score it even more highly! I read it for class and I spent quite a few more hours on it than most readers will, but if you enjoy it on the first read, I recommend giving it another read or so. The Biblical allusions are complex and unsettling. The prose is visceral and grounded. I felt so immersed and connected to the people and the land in this book. In fact, I kind of want to read it again right now, just thinking about it. There i ...more
I really cannot see the appeal of the book or why it is rated so highly. There were several things about the book that really annoyed me and really removed any enjoyment I may have derived from reading it.

Winton, in my opinion is one of those authors who believes he is so much better than he actually is. The absence of a complication made the book seem more a series of mundane events rather than an engaging story. The descriptiveness hailed by some was to me agonising. Do we really need a Where
I really had to waffle around in considering how to rate this. There's really some of the best gritty, realistic and poetic writing I've ever read interspersed with some moments of ham-fisted "wise-dickery" (to use Winton's own word). I had to put the book aside three times when I first started it but once I really got into it, I couldn't put it down. Soon though, as it progressed, I gradually lost interest and found myself crawling to the finish line. I never developed anything more than a curs ...more
Dysfunctional Families Australian Style.

Those words are the best I can come up with to depict this book. There are two families living in one house on Cloudstreet near Perth, Australia. This house and these families become the center attraction of the entire neighborhood. Both families are of the working class; in fact they are lucky if they even have a job. The time period is 1944-1964, so the end of the war and the hard times that followed determine the setting. Life is hard; it is a struggle
I finished reading this a couple of days ago and am still feeling the murky, underlying strangeness of Cloudstreet and Winton’s prose. He captures the human condition so well and the connectivity between the larger world and every tiny, insignificant one of us.

This is the story of two down and out families weaved with an ever present inexplicability that mimics, perhaps, the entirely unexplainable nature of human beings. Why do we do the things we do, year after year, generation after helpless
Why did it take me so long to get to this, and why isn't it better known (or is it?)? It's gorgeously poetic and chock full of characters who are memorable in name (Quick Lamb, Hat Lamb, Fish Lamb) and desire. The writing really is unlike anything I'd read recently -- so muscular and Australian. The book is huge, but it you sort of hurtle through it, it has so much momentum -- it's impressive to see that kind of momentum come from the rush of pure language, with so little reliance on plot.
Oct 13, 2013 Judy rated it 3 of 5 stars
Recommended to Judy by: Gaeta1
A different kind of book, this Cloudstreet. Its one of those books where one can identify with those who give it high praise as well as those who didn't care for it. I didn't find the storyline particularly compelling nor any of the characters. However, the book grew on me. I started trying to decide if I even wanted to continue reading it, decided I did, and ended up really liking the ending. I felt it to be a somewhat depressing book most of the way, until, surprisingly, the ending!

What I like
I will start by saying Tim Winton's Cloudstreet could not be more Australian if it tried. Fairdinkum i was half expecting one of the characters to say Ozzie ozzie ozzie oi oi oi at one stage. The story goes of two Rural Australian families thanks to separate tragedies abandoning their country lives for the big city and number 1 Cloudstreet. Over twenty years the Pickles and Lamb families go from an unhappy arrangement living together to one happy calamatous tribe who despite their differences ha ...more
Moses Kilolo
So many things worthy about this book. Style. Content. Characters. Pace. And everything else that makes spending your reading time discovering the Pickles and the Lambs both memorable and worthy. Way worthy. But the secret to that special quality seems to me not to lie in all that, but in the soul of the writer. Beautiful and free and bubbling with the finest aspects of life. Its a book to return to. For the sheer beauty of the writing. For its memorable characters, whom you love and care for. A ...more
Diane Barnes
This is a great, sprawling, epic family saga that makes you glad you're a reader, just so you can live the lives of these characters for the length of the novel. It's 20 years in the lives of the Lambs and the Pickles, who share a house in Perth, Australia. Not that I' m comparing Tim Winton to Tolstoy, but just like "War and Peace", this novel encompasses every emotion and human foible and goodness in mankind. Pick an adjective; it' s in this book. You ll love and hate and grow old and die, you ...more
Mar 10, 2010 Emily added it
Shelves: read-in-2010
Richard accused me the other day of being a little hard to pin down sometimes, regarding my straight-up opinion of a book. Did I like it? Did I not? Ah well. Such is the danger of the anti-review form practiced here at Evening All Afternoon. And sad to say, I'm afraid my thoughts on Tim Winton's Cloudstreet will not exactly help my reputation in this regard. There are so many things to love in this grittily atmospheric family saga of working-class life in Western Australia: gorgeous, chewy prose ...more
This is the second time I've read this book, and it was like reuniting with some long-lost dear friend. There is something about this book that sets it apart from the standard fiction story. It could be the perfect blend between gritty realism and a more elastic, malleable reality, where ghosts have their own room of the house and a hunter can see himself running by in the sights of his own rifle. The Pickle family inherits a large house from a deceased relative, on the condition they don't sell ...more
Aug 17, 2014 Jodie rated it 3 of 5 stars
Shelves: 2012
It is safe to say that this book is regularly lauded as an Australian classic, but not only that, it is loved. So I am being sacrilegious as an Australian in saying I didn't really like most if it. I loved the way Mr Winton talks about the water, the longing for it, the descriptions of the sun as it dozes in the ocean, the water like sheet metal, the pull of the River. That alone is 5 star writing. But Cloudstreet, I did not like. I did not like the house or most of the people that lived there. ...more
Nov 20, 2010 Emma rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommended to Emma by: Linzy
It’s kind of hard to read a book when you just want to hug it to you so often.

Cloudstreet is the long tale of two families who wind up living side-by-side in a strange old house, a house home to other stories even before their mobs move in.

The book is crowded with characters who you can’t help but love despite all their failings. I think my heart broke for them on nearly every other page. But they still made me laugh out loud more than once, all those crazy Lambs and Pickles.

The language is unr
My favorite novel of all time. I've read it three times. Once with Susanna on our honey moon.

Some might not like this because there is no single man character. But I don't care. The two families that make up the story are so well and appropriately developed. The book reads more like our lives should be lived--who we are in context of others around us. This is more the Illiad rather than the Odyssey in that way.

The prose reads like prose poetry at the right times. You have to want to sit with th
Colleen Stone
"Cloud Street" is an important novel and i cant do it justice in a short review. Im not going to bang on about its brilliant characterisation, fantastical landscapes and clever allegorical allusions. That's just the technical stuff. What counts for me is an impression that has stayed with me since i read it ten years ago, that it was a dream of my own imagining.

There was a place in my mind waiting to be filled by this book. I felt I could slip quietly between the pages and share in the eccentri
I would highly recommend this book . Its full of magical realism and is poetic and funny at the same time . The characters are really eclectic, loveable and totally beleivable despite the strange goings on around them . It has overtones of the House of spirits and even the colour purple although I can safely say its unlike any other book I've ever read . I really got the feeling of australia and the hidden forces there . The overiding theme of luck and guardian angeles got me totally
hooked !
Cloudstreet racconta le vicende di due famiglie contadine che hanno sofferto molto a causa delle disgrazie che sono capitate loro e che decidono di fuggire in città per cercare di mettere ordine alle loro vite e ripartire daccapo sotto il tetto di una vecchia casa in Australia.

All’inizio tutti i personaggi sono divisi e chiusi nel loro dolore, sia singolarmente che all’interno delle proprie famiglie; ma con il passare del tempo iniziano a condividere tragedie e trionfi ed a capire progressivamen
So this is the greatest Australian novel of all time? I’m frankly amazed that it’s so critically lauded and considered such an iconic part of Australian literature. It’s a diverting enough ramble through the lives of two eccentric families but for me lacked the resonance and emotional power of truly great literature. The plot explores the lives of ordinary working class people; it’s been lauded as quintessentially Australian, but it reminded me more of stories of my father’s working class London ...more
How do you begin to write about a book like Cloudstreet? It’s so fine, subtle and perfectly written that the reader is carried forward on the plot before he or she even realises that the book has had a transformative effect. Like Winton himself, there is something so humble about the book—it’s such a soft, generous offering—that it’s almost difficult to reconcile the honesty of the story—the lives of these two flawed families—with the fireworks that it creates in terms of its illumination of the ...more
I read this in high school originally. Now I've reread it recently to see how I would feel about it a second time. Sometimes you have to have a break from genetics text books.

It's the kind of book that grows on you. I went from liking to not liking to feeling close to those in the old house on Cloud Street again. The Lambs and the Pickles are different from one another and I guess that is part of what makes it interesting. It is set between the 1960's and 90's in a suburb of Perth. It is very A
Lynn G.
Other than a few places here and there I didn't care much for this book. It felt disjointed, incoherent, and rather like stream-of-consciousness meanderings. All the characters were quirky and pitiable but not charming. There was lots of in-your-face symbolism but it made absolutely no sense to me. This is probably an author I won't read again.
Christina Houen

I read this book soon after it was published, and loved it. For years I remembered it as a classic, a quintessential Australian family saga. I think I read it once more a couple of years later. Now, 16 years after it was published, I've re-read it. Some books, for me, hold their magic; I've read The Lord of the Rings twelve times, and I"m sure I'll read it again in a couple of years' time. I enjoyed re-reading Cloudstreet, but my attention faded towards the end, and I began to flick pages over t
Janina Woolley
This is my second read through of Cloudstreet - I chose it for our book club as one of my favourite books. At first I couldn't remember why I liked it so much as it was over 10 years ago that I first read it (in my early 20s), however as the story progressed I recalled the rich symbolism that had me spellbound on my first read. I found getting through the first half of the book a little tedious. Originally I fell in love with Tim Winton's incredible poetic writing style - this read through I fou ...more
My main problems with the book were that I found some things difficult to understand and that it took a little while before i was engrossed in it. Aside from that, I really enoyed it and would give it 3.5 stars if i could.
My Penguin copy calls this book "the modern Australian classic". Well, I thought it was okay, but it didn't really do a lot for me. I'm glad the Book Club didn't select it recently!
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Aussie Readers: cloudstreet by Tim Winton 3 46 May 03, 2012 10:57PM  
  • The White Earth
  • Harp In The South
  • My Brother Jack
  • A Fortunate Life
  • My Brilliant Career
  • Eucalyptus
  • The Great World
  • The Sound of One Hand Clapping
  • The Secret River
  • Picnic at Hanging Rock
  • My Place
  • Bliss
  • The Tree Of Man
  • For the Term of His Natural Life
  • Tirra Lirra by the River
  • Tall Man: The Death of Doomadgee
  • Drylands
  • The Broken Shore
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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“And you can't help but worry for them, love them, want for them - those who go on down the close, foetid galleries of time and space without you.” 12 likes
“Will you look at us by the river! The whole restless mob of us on spread blankets in the dreamy briny sunshine skylarking and chiacking about for one day, one clear, clean, sweet day in a good world in the midst of our living. Yachts run before an unfelt gust with bagnecked pelicans riding above them, the city their twitching backdrop, all blocks and points of mirror light down to the water's edge.” 10 likes
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