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Dirt Music

3.83 of 5 stars 3.83  ·  rating details  ·  6,981 ratings  ·  441 reviews
Luther Fox, a loner, haunted by his past, makes his living as an illegal fisherman, a shamateur. Before everyone in his family was killed in a freak rollover, he grew melons and played guitar in the family band. Robbed of all that, he has turned his back on music. There's too much emotion in it, too much memory and pain.

One morning Fox is observed poaching by Georgie Jutl

Paperback, 480 pages
Published May 30th 2008 by Picador (first published November 25th 2002)
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The Book Thief by Markus ZusakCloudstreet by Tim WintonTomorrow, When the War Began by John MarsdenA Town Like Alice by Nevil ShuteThe Thorn Birds by Colleen McCullough
Best Modern Australian Literature
14th out of 327 books — 418 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
11th out of 561 books — 326 voters

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Community Reviews

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Gee, what to say really? Winton is a natural when it comes to description. He can prattle on for miles about this rock and that tree. But when it comes to the meat of a story, he likes to blow past the most interesting and provocative bits! What is with that??? To say this is a love story is laughable to me. Where's the love? How did it happen? Did I miss it? Winton drones on for 100s of pages about landscape, wildlife and paints an exhaustively clear picture of Western Australia. But at what po ...more

I'm on a bit of a Tim Winton kick at the moment. For years after reading - and loving - Cloudstreet I ignored his work. Now it seems that I can't get enough of it. And yet, for some of the time I was listening to the audiobook version of this novel, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. It has everything that I love about Winton's writing: down-to-earth Australian English, realistic dialogue, flawed and complex characters, rich symbolism, striking imagery and a strong connection with the natural wo
Dirt Music is one of those books that gets under your skin. Comes into your bed with you; changes your dreams; travels with you throughout the mundane details of everyday life. Winton's descriptive prose works both externally in its depiction of the natural land - the sea and desert of Western Australia which makes up its setting, and internally, in the way it goes deep inside the pain and anxieties of its characters, as they struggle to free themselves from tremendous damage, and paralysis.

When I think of Australia, I think of orange desert, furry animals, the ocean, snakes, big rocks, dirt roads, land, a LOT of land. As a country with one of the lowest population density, it is easy to fantasise about vanishing into the endless land ahead and leaving civilisation behind. It is not that romantic though, think about the sun burn, dehydration, windstorm, and boredom that would drive you insane. You know how famous landmarks - bridges, skyscrapers, tend to gather people with suicidal
Blokey novel, full of blokey blokes doing blokey stuff. Far too many people hanging upside down in vehicles of one kind or another, and the predictable ending was deliberately delayed too long for my patience. It's either a momentous portrayal of a raw, archaic world or rather silly, depending on your point of view. I found it silly.
Moses Kilolo
This book is a descriptive marvel. You feel yourself there. You are one with the characters in their pain and their wrestle with memory and their attempt to come to terms with their wrecked lives. Even long after reading the final page, you feel like Georgie Jutland, Luther Fox, and, perhaps, Jim Buckridge, are persons you've known for a long time. And through their lives you look at your own in a new way.
This was odd. This book has 500 pages and I couldn't stop reading it although I didn’t like it. It's a book about West and North Australia. It sure is contemporary, if contemporary means deep emotions, metaphysics, mystery, heartbreaking love, suffocating pain, guilt, remorse and redemption. Connected with nature but that is I suppose normal if you live in Australia.

But, it failed to be memorable and I didn’t believe these characters and their love triangle was weird. They were bordering betwee
"The covers of this book are too far apart."
— Ambrose Bierce
This is going to be a hard one for me to write about. Dirt Music, by well-known Australian author Tim Winton, has been on my reading list for ages and I finally was able to pick it up. I wanted to like it. I wanted to love it. After reading it, though, I'm not quite sure what to make of it. It took me about 160 pages to stop wanting to put the book down, although after I hit that point, I did really want to finish it.

First I want to point out that I'm a bit of a lazy reader. I also have definite
I don't agree with Karen that this book is overly blokeish or laddish. I'm on page 100 and really enjoying it so far. The main character so far(Georgie) is a woman.
Christine Christman
What a great read. Buckridge and Fox and Georgie all rolling out their past wounds into the complex story of the place in their lives where Tim drops us right down with a plop. I loved each character because of their struggles with self-awareness, their willingness to touch, even if ever so slightly, their own pain and try to sort it out. Tim always does the most amazing job taking me to Australia, the many ways of experiencing the country and the many eyes through which the landscape can be vie ...more
Clayton Bye
Dirt Music
by Tim Winton
Penguin Books, 2012
ISBN: 978-0-14-356879-7
Literary Fiction

Georgie Jutland is a mess. At forty, with her career in ruins, she finds herself stranded in White Point with a fisherman she doesn't love and two kids whose dead mother she can never replace. Leached of all confidence, she spends her days in isolated tedium and her nights in a blur of vodka and self-recrimination. One morning, in the boozy pre-dawn gloom, she sees a shadow drifting up on the beach below—a lone
Louise Tobin
This is not a love story. This is a story of when two outcasts in a small town come together and share their broken lives.
Georgie is with Jim Buckridge, someone who is revered in the small fishing town of White Point. His sons show her contempt but she feels they love her deep down but cant show it.
Luther Fox, destroyed by a horrific accident that took his whole family has been living by stealing fish since. A xenophobic neighbour mutilates his dog and runs him out of town once he finds out abou
One of the best contemporary books I've read for a long time. Tim Winton is at one with his home area around Perth, WA and has written a story that whisks you there.

It tells of Georgie, a forty year old retired nurse who surfs the net and appreciates her vodka; Jim Buckridge, Georgie's lover, who is a successful fisherman and the "uncrowned prince" of White Point; and Luther Fox, the unluckiest outcast in White Point who is grieving the loss of his entire family and poaching lobster traps.

The s
Tim Winton is an Australian writer who brings Australia's vast and forbidding landscape to life on the page. I was left imagining Australia, at least the west and the northwest, as sauna hot, where it can be hard to breath and even too hot to swim. The land can be tropical but is also rough and hard with beautiful vistas of ocean, red dirt, remanents of old mountains, palms and mangroves on the coast, clusters of cockatoo's flying out of clusters of trees and the sea teaming with fish life inclu ...more
Multi layered, beautifully written, descriptive and atmospheric. A love story revolving around a love triangle, but also a journey of self discovery for each of the three troubled characters, each with more baggage than an inner city railway station. They are a mess, and so are the relationships. Set against the raw and rough and unforgiving land and sea scape of Western Australia, beauty and love and forgiveness somehow happen amongst these three damaged individuals. What remains with me the mo ...more
Ilyhana Kennedy
Here is an interesting writer. In some way I think he is still in his formative the early part of the book, he does his best to shock the reader in every second sentence, overkill, subtle as a brick through a window. However, this book is a fabulous read and when the shock factor eases back in his writing about 100 pages in, the writing morphs into astonishingly evocative imagery. The words themselves have a "sound" to them that must be taken in along with the visuals evoked.
Tim Winto
Jen Jacobs
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. Having travelled Western Australia in my early twenties, This book took me right back there. Beautiful yet somewhat frightening climate reflected in equally wild yet warm people. The love story was gorgeous and utterly unique - a modern classic. Sam - thanks for the recommendation!
Caroline Mckean
I am a self-confessed Winton fan and I loved it. I didn't love it with the "smile on your face ooh-aah" that I loved Cloudstreet with, but I loved it with a "yeah, I get these ambiguous feelings he's painting". Like Cloudstreet, he explores this thing called luck - a focus which I find intriguing. I read here a description of it as a 'blokey book about blokey blokes', and while there is a lot of that - it's set in the WA frontiers largely - the role that Georgie plays as the mortar between peopl ...more
Jolene Elliott
I loved this because although its supposed to be a 'love story', it didn't display any of the usual unrealistic aspects of fictional love. The characters were truly screwed up, insecure and fragile, with their own personal strengths and weaknesses.
The poacher as a character started off seeming mysterious, impenatrable and dangerous, but soon is revealed as simultaneously fierce and sort of pathetic, needing help to reenter society or something. Very strange. I think thats why i liked it. althou
A bit too..strange for my taste. Not very comfortable reading about this sexually desperate cougar preying on a fantasized overly complex wimpy guy. I'm thinking about leaving this book somewhere in the train as a random donation for whomever may appreciate it. There goes my 14 euros for nothing...
Nancy Oakes
no spoilers, just synopsis

I'd definitely recommend this book, but I think something got lost in translation for me personally since I've never been to Australia and could only try to envision the places Winton talks about in here. Landscape (geographical in its relation to human) is such an integral part of this novel that I feel sort of left out not ever having seen any of the place.

Set in a fictional place called White Point, a fishing town, the novel focuses on three people:
1) Georgie Jutla
Christopher Rex
This is an excellent author. I've been surprised to note that several bookstores in the US don't carry a single title under his name. Definitely a voice to check out. He creates great characters, brings the Australian landscape to life and tells amazing stories. I'm not sure who I'd compare him to in this regard, but if you looking for a fresh voice this is a good call.

This story centers around 2 somewhat "lost" souls whose lives become intertwined, for better and for worse. In traversing their
Jun 20, 2010 McNeil rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Adults, Kali
Recommended to McNeil by: Angelie
Is it your birthday? Run out and treat yourself to this book! I loved this book. It was beautifully written--the narrative jumps from Lu to Georgie, the embedded flashbacks, the gorgeous descriptions of everything from a huge variety of Australian landscapes to how it feels to want someone --all of it was painstakingly masterful.

The main characters were so flawed and real that it was heartbreaking. Just folks trying to deal with their own stories, trying to decide what to make of the rest of th
4 1/2 - Except for the penultimate part of the novel dragging on a bit and an ever so slightly overly dramatic or sentimental ending, this would have been a 5. Having said that, there are three main things I loved about the book.

First, I love the way Winton locates us in a place. He describes the natural surroundings so vividly, explains the character of the microcosm of society represented in White Point thoroughly but subtlely, and when you read his words, you know an Australian is guiding yo
It was my introduction in many ways to literature from the South. All the reviewers had raved about the extensively detailed rendering of the Australian landscape. And indeed, it was worth raving about. The author manages to very vividly bring to life the landscape, its richness and diversity, yet its loneliness and toughness. In many ways parallel to the characters of the book. As they used to say about Hardy's books, the character at the fore in this book was the country and its forlorn, far f ...more
Rebecca Altmann
Tim Winton's writing is quite amazing. He can write a scene and have you there, smelling the salt-water, feeling the gritty sand in your clothes and the relentless heat of the sun, yet he does it with a masterful use of fairly sparse language. With Winton I never feel bogged down in pages of description of trees or light or landscapes (unlike Bryce Courtney as one example).
For me though, the plot and characters in this one were a bit underwhelming. I often wondered where the story was heading an
An interesting book to judge, and I am split as to whether I like it. True, the descriptions of the Australian landscape are extremely detailed and (at times) wearisome, but the subtle complexity of both Fox and Georgie are compelling.
I come away from this book feeling like I will never need to actually go to Western Australia, because Winton has painted such a vivid landscape. If nothing else, this book has saved me money in that regard!
Ed Eleazer
The most satisfying conclusion of any of Winton's novels that I have read thus far. Perhaps I'm just an old Romantic or pre-post-Modernist, but I feel that if one reads of the sufferings that two characters endure over the course of 400+ pages, those sufferings should be healed and some redemption should be achieved. Otherwise, one need not have spent time following these characters' lives. Seldom in the real world are conflicts resolved, and seldom do people suffer for any sort of purpose. Howe ...more
I am not particularly a fan Tim Winton after reading three of his books. This is the third book I have read of his and although it is the one I like the best, I still found it a little disappointing. I think Tim Winton is very good at developing characters and the plot, but I think he tends to over-complicate the plot just a little and then finds it very hard to end the book. The ending of this book was much better than The Riders (which I was horribly disappointed about), however it still leave ...more
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  • Journey to the Stone Country
  • The White Earth
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  • Tirra Lirra by the River
  • The Chant of Jimmie Blacksmith
  • Bliss
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  • Carpentaria
  • The Great World
  • Lilian's Story
  • My Brilliant Career
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  • Harp In The South
  • The Broken Shore
  • A Fortunate Life
  • My Brother Jack
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...
Cloudstreet Breath The Riders Eyrie The Turning: Stories

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“Dirt music, Fox tells Georgie, is "anything you can play on a verandah or porch, without electricity.” 2 likes
“You can hide in someone else's rage - it blinds them” 2 likes
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