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Island Home

3.96  ·  Rating details ·  1,542 ratings  ·  218 reviews
'I grew up on the world’s largest island.'

This apparently simple fact is the starting point for Tim Winton’s beautiful, evocative and sometimes provocative memoir of how Australia's unique landscape has shaped him and his writing.

Wise, rhapsodic, exalted – Island Home is not just a brilliant, moving insight into the life and art of one of our finest writers, but a compel
Hardcover, 256 pages
Published September 23rd 2015 by Penguin Australia
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Ellie Carless I would, however this book is non-fiction and a weighty read. I would start with a collection of his short stories (Minimum of Two or The Turning) or …moreI would, however this book is non-fiction and a weighty read. I would start with a collection of his short stories (Minimum of Two or The Turning) or one of his novels (I'd recommend Breath).(less)

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 ·  1,542 ratings  ·  218 reviews

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“I grew up on the world’s largest island. . . someone like me, who should know better, can forget he’s an islander. Australia the place is constantly overshadowed by Australia the national idea, the economic enterprise.”

Rightly acclaimed Aussie author Tim Winton’s celebration of life on the island continent should be required reading for those so immersed in counting the metaphorical trees of the economic enterprise that they miss the glorious forest of its unique, ancient landscape.

From the
I’ve been in love/obsessed with Tim Winton’s writing since 2004, when a work colleague lent me Cloudstreet.

Truth be told, there aren’t that many prestigious writers, artists or scientists who came from Western Australia. While it’s the biggest state in Australia, it’s what I would call a mainly blue-collar state, where mining, agriculture and other primary industries prevail. It’s conservative and a bit backwards. I say this with love. Anyway, Tim Winton is a Western Australian treasure. (I cri
Nov 28, 2016 rated it really liked it
Recommended to Brenda by: Elaine
Island Home is like no other memoir I have ever read before. Aussie author Tim Winton’s passion and love for this vast country of ours is absolute – his writing is masterful and evocative, insightful and powerful, and totally beautiful.

From the author’s opening sentence - 'I grew up on the world’s largest island’ – to the very last page, his words instil in us again and again, the beauty of this rugged country and how proud we are to call ourselves Australian.

Thoroughly enjoyable and highly re
Nov 08, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, essays
A memoir about landscape is really not my thing - my favorite parts of this book are when Winton talks about himself and his family. But I picked this up because I love this author who manages to make anything interesting.
Jenny (Reading Envy)
"The land remains a tantalizing and watchful presence over our shoulder. We've imbibed it unwittingly: it's in our bones like a sacramental ache."
I really enjoyed this exploration of how landscape effects us. Tim Winton's island home is the often overlooked area of Western Australia. He looks at the history of the area in vignettes from his own life, and his writing transports the reader to an unusual place of decreasing wildness.
"There are no wastelands in our landscape quite like those we've c
This memoir in short essays explores how the Australian landscape formed the author’s life and writing. Australia is, of course, the world’s largest island, and it has endemic flora and fauna and a unique character. The pieces remember thrilling encounters with nature and skip between Winton’s childhood, his children’s growing-up years, and the recent past. I especially liked “The power of place,” about his early love for writers who “embraced the particulars of their place and the music of thei ...more
No one writes more evocatively about childhood and the Australian experience than Tim Winton. I find it hard to be objective about his work, because I am the same age as him and grew up in similar places and circumstances and so almost every page that he writes validates (or challenges) my own memories and experience. This makes reading his work and constant dialogue between author and reader, often excited and grateful, occasionally tetchy.

While I admire Winton’s novels, I find that the things
Chanelle Tarabay
Oct 18, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I am flabbergasted by Tim Winton's skill. I'm pretty much always in awe of his writing, and I can't help but marvel over the fact that I am so consistently shell-shocked by the uncanny sense of PRESENCE that exudes from it. "Place" has always been a major character in Winton's body of work, and in Island Home, a book all about "place", we really see it shine. In my view, this is a must read for all fans of Winton, but mostly this a book for fans of place, and (perhaps more specifically) of Austr ...more
As Tim Winton said, 'I grew up on the world's largest island.' This ‘island’, Australia, or continent as most people think of it, has had humans living there for thousands of years. These original people had over these millennia to come to an incredibly in-depth understanding of their landscape and how to tread lightly on it. It was a similar relationship to his locality that inspired Tim Winton as a child. Growing up in Karrinyup amongst the coastal landscape of beaches, rock pools and swamps m ...more
Jun 07, 2017 rated it it was amazing
A landscape memoir, fulled with such beautiful language and wonderful descriptions of Australia that give you a sense of place and time. Makes me want to go out into nature and just sit and look and listen.
This is the first I read of Winton and I'm thrilled to know the author has written over 20 novels I can look forward to.

Small bits from the memoir I thought were wonderful, hard to choose though the whole thing was fabulous.

From the arid

"There's no suggestion of water anywhere and yet everythi
Jul 28, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: owned
I started this as an audio book...only my second audio experience and I really wasn't enjoying it. I felt that in listening to this I missed a lot of the nuances, lyrical language and wonderful descriptions that are so much a part of Winton's writing. I ended up finishing it as a physical book and going back and rereading some chapters that I felt I missed parts of in the listening. I'm so glad I did because the writing as always with Winton and his description of time and place was exquisite. I ...more
Dec 12, 2017 rated it it was ok
2.5 stars
The cons way out the goods.
I did enjoy parts of this book because it was written about Australia, my country. The way Winton describes nature is overpowering and raw. Australia is truly beautiful and I believe this book describes the landscapes of country in a unique and exotic way. Although, most of the book is focused on Western Australia and its dry lands. WA has a very different climate, ecological system and lifestyle compared to other parts of Australia. I did not like the way Win
Sep 17, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016-reviews
This book, which is made up of 10 essays, some of which have been published elsewhere (“The Island Seen and Felt” was first given as a talk at London’s Royal Academy in 2013, for instance), highlights Winton’s relationship to the land but also gives us a potted history of the environmental movement in Australia. Each essay, which is at all times deeply personal and full of vivid imagery, is is prefaced by a diary-like back story to explain how what follows came to be.

To read my review in full, p
Mar 13, 2016 rated it really liked it
A collection of essays about Winton's various experiences of different parts and aspects of Australia, mostly in his state of Western Australia. I enjoyed it but I'm not sure how well it would "translate" to non-Australians because his use of the vernacular. His passion comes through very clearly, and as I share his love for the harsh beauty of Australia, and his anger at the destruction being wrought through mining and other industry.
Sue Gerhardt Griffiths
Feb 07, 2020 rated it really liked it
Shelves: audiobook, 2020-books
Interesting and beautifully written.

I was quite taken aback how much I enjoyed listening to a story that is more about the environment than Tim Winton’s life story.

This truly is a gorgeous, poetic, powerful and evocative memoir.
Dillwynia Peter
Apr 28, 2017 rated it really liked it
Island Home – implies many things, but for Winton, it does imply isolation. His experiences as a young writer trying to make his way are ugly - his descriptions of the disparaging comments from Eastern Stater editors and commentators wearing 15 shades of black is hilarious. But he is right. It is easy to forget that Western Australia was very isolated from the rest of southern Australia and treated as an outpost equal to Papua New Guinea or Darwin. Prior to the early 1960s, the two modes of trav ...more
Feb 09, 2017 rated it liked it
I’m a huge fan of Tim Winton and he is one of my ultimate literary heroes. I love his writing style and I love his stories and the way he characterises relationships.

I had to get that comment out first, as Island Home is not a Tim Winton novel/story and it is not, for me, comparable to the Tim Winton I love to read.

Island Home is part story telling, part memoir and part argument. I have a great deal of appreciation for the first two aspects but not much for the last.

Throughout the text you will
Jun 05, 2017 rated it it was ok
I know this is called a landscape memoir but golly it is boring. I really enjoyed the chapters that explored Winton's life but really struggled with the chapters that were simple long winded explanations of the land. Admittedly it was beautifully written and filled with lyrical imagery, but I found it hard to keep reading. Definitely for fans only.
Oct 22, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Just finished! How powerful is Tim Winton as writer! He really stirs your conscience about your place, your history and the future. Can't wait for others to read and begin conversations.
Chris Waterford
Nov 13, 2018 rated it really liked it
I love Tim Winton's fiction and I liked the very personal bits of this book where he talks about his own life. However mostly he writes about nature and landscape here which didn't have quite the same appeal.
Nov 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
One of the casualties of living as a non-indigenous Australian under a government which tortures refugees, in a land which was stolen without treaty, is a confusion over how to process a love of Country, without implying a nationalist pride, or denying the complex realities over land ownership. Winton's book is a revelation because it starts at the outset by laying claim to Australianess - an identity shaped and molded by this large, flat, single-tectonic-plate Island continent.
I have long since
Sean Kennedy
Oct 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Tim Winton is always a master of words, and he sums up in this 'memoir' what it means to be an Australian, and how we feel about the land we live in. There are some startlingly beautiful passages in here, especially the segment on being outback and how terrifying the sky can seem at night when there is nothing between you and the stars.
Travis Holland
Dec 30, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Winton's memoir reads like a memoir of the continent. It's soaring, evocative, yet honest and brutal too. He challenges and chides Australians about our patchy performance on the environment, Indigenous peoples, and the military, but rewards us by showing the culture and heritage that is ours alone. A must read for all Australians, and all those that want to know us better.
Steve lovell
Nov 17, 2016 rated it really liked it

He's a living national treasure. In his fiction Tim Winton takes the pulse of what has and does make us tick as Australians, particularly those of us who grew up on our nation's great littoral and away from the mega-cities. He connects us to the sea – and to where the bush or desert meets the sea. His books, like the television series such as the iconic 'SeaChange' and these days '800 Words', despite the latter being set in NZ, help nurture the urge to make our own lives more elemental, less dig
Peter Tillman
I was kind-of enjoying this memoir, but it was pretty bloodless reading (for me) since I've never been to that part of Australia. I did come upon an illustrated guidebook to WA parklands, which helped, but now Winton's book is due back at the library. Given that it's been sitting undisturbed for weeks, I'm closing it out as DNF, unrated. Some chance I'll come back to it in the sweet bye and bye (but probably not).

Better for actual Australians, I think -- particularly those who know its southwest
May 06, 2016 rated it really liked it
Shelves: favorites
The thing, or one of the things, about Tim Winton, is his voice. This memoir is one which covers lots of the landscape of the giant island, and that is what he feels Australia is about. That landscape has informed the culture, the attitudes and the inherent nature of the people, both indigenous and imported. This book gets better and better as it rolls along. I love it that he gets political, I totally agree with his stand on ANZAC and I'm sure that his views will upset some people, but for me h ...more
Aug 21, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: uni-books, 2017
I enjoyed this book more than I thought I would. I had to read this as part of my uni topic 21st Century Literature. I have not read many (if any) memoirs before. I do not know if I will read more but I like Tim Winton's writing style (side note: I did not realise that he was the author of Lockie Leonard! I loved that series - I should reread it soon). It was interesting reading about how Tim Winton has interacted with nature all throughout his life, as he believes that, along with family, the w ...more
Nicole Alexander
Oct 21, 2015 rated it really liked it
I read something similar some years ago, try as I may I can't recall the author however the book was in the homestead library and TWs work made me remember it. TWs landscape memoir resembles a mosaic that dips between adult and childhood memories and then flings us into the world of the activist although he couches this latter interest among the mastery of the written word ensuring that though he may lose some readers in parts, the majority will finish the ride. Like a mosaic the pieces are flaw ...more
Andrew Klynsmith
I loved the first chapter of this book, but the longer it went on the less I enjoyed it. I have loved Tim Winton's novels, every one I've read (except maybe The Riders), but this left me a bit cold. I think it was his rather didactic and superior tone about the issues that matter to him, combined with a tendency to put opposing views in the worst possible light. Still, it was full of Winton's masterful and beautiful turns of phrase, and that was wonderful.
Dec 26, 2015 rated it really liked it
This man articulates so beautifully what I feel as an Australian but don't really understand. If we all listened and lived by the principles that guide Winton, and the indigenous elders that he respects so much, we would have have so much more to give to our future generations. What an important snapshot of a great Australian man.
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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

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In most historical romances, love and marriage go together like...well, a horse and carriage. But what if the girl part of the girl-meets-boy...
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“The gospel of perpetual economic growth carries in its train the salvation promise of a life bigger and better for everyone. But this greater good is often mythical. The actual experience of believers rarely bear out the claims of their faith. Even so, many adherents cleave stubbornly, fearfully to orthodoxy. I guess it's what they know.” 3 likes
“In Europe, the dimensions of physical space seemed compressed. The looming vertical presence of mountains cut me off from the horizon. I'd not lived with that kind of spatial curtailment before. Even a city of skyscrapers is more porous than a snowcapped range. Alps form a solid barrier, an obstacle every bit as conceptual as visual and physical. Alpine bluffs and crags just don't rear up, they lean outwards, projecting their mass, and their solidity does not relent. For a West Australian like me, whose default setting is in diametric opposition, and for whom space is the impinging force, the effect is claustrophobic. I think I was constantly and instinctively searching for distances that were unavailable, measuring space and coming up short.” 1 likes
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