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That Eye, the Sky
Tim Winton
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That Eye, the Sky

3.51  ·  Rating details ·  1,375 Ratings  ·  70 Reviews
In this modern Australian classic, award-winning author Tim Winton tells the story of young Ort Flack and his struggle to come to grips with the forces pulling his family apart. An extraordinary snapshot of boyhood, That Eye, the Sky is also a powerful exploration of the nature of hope and faith.

Ort doesn't have a bad life. He mucks around with his best pal, Fat Cherry; h

Published (first published January 1st 1987)
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James Barker
I read this short novel in a night and enjoyed it. What really struck me was an echo of Flannery O'Connor's majestic story 'The Life You Save May Be Your Own' maybe due to the arrival of the mysterious vagrant, the invocations to God and aspects of the ending. There is no doubt Winton is a good writer. His narrator, a 12 year old boy, is brought to life with a realistic voice and is a charming, believable character because of this success. Let's face it, writers don't always do this well. Trying ...more
Carinya Kappler
Mar 04, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I imagine that this is life viewed through the eyes of a 10-12year old boy. He is caught between the innocence of childhood and the harsh reality of assuming the full responsibility of "man of the house". He loves unconditionally, hopes optimistically for better times and stands fast waiting for his father to come home healed, to recommence his fatherly duties where he left off.
I loved Tim Winton's unashamed honest efforts to bestow functionality on a tragic family situation. His main character
Nancy Oakes
Feb 12, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I would recommend that eye, the sky to fiction readers, but a lot of people will probably go away from it unsatisfied. There is a LOT to this story for which the author leaves no explanation and this may frustrate some people. Me, I love quirky writing and I know that I'll be mulling this book over in my head for a while now that I've finished it. For anyone who hasn't read a Tim Winton novel, I wouldn't suggest you start with this one -- try The Riders or Dirt Music (I haven't read anything els ...more
Feb 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
“That Eye, the Sky” is one of Winton’s earlier novels, written in 1986—the third of his currently 9 novels for adults and published before “Cloudstreet”. It has also been made into a movie.

The narrator is a 12 year old boy (Morton Flack, Ort for short) on the verge of adolescence who sees and understands the world and his family through maturing eyes. Much that surrounds Ort is either broken or damaged—as are most of Winton’s characters in his other novels. But the supernatural also inhabits Ort
Aimee Steadman
Feb 15, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is the first Tim Winton novel I’ve read. For some reason, my high school curriculum had different ideas for me than ‘Cloudstreet’. It was the first unread book I grabbed off my bookshelf and what convinced to me read on was the dedication – ‘Equanimity’ by Les A. Murray and it reads:

“From the otherworld of action and media, this
interleaved continuing plane is hard to focus;
we are looking into the light –
it makes some smile, some grimace.”

With the current political landscape and events in m
Ilyhana Kennedy
Dec 31, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
"That Eye, The Sky" is something of a cameo piece of Winton, in comparison with what came later, a prediction of what is to come, though the pace and humour are yet under tight rein and feel more like restraint and pathos.
The insight into a child's experience is there, along with the acceptance of 'paranormal' phenomena as being part of everyday life, normal rather than paranormal, although strange.
The introduction of the character Henry Warburton injects an undertone of threat that is maintaine
Aug 05, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: didn-t-finish
I watched Cloustreet and really enjoyed it! The several layers to the characters and the development of each person too. So I thought I would try a book by the author, well it dragged for me. I had to work at picking the book up and reading it, even though I knew no body was going to make a major breakthrough in charachter development I just couldn't endure reading through the boring lives of nothingness. In dreary dry Australia down and under, i got as depressed as them, rather than appreciate ...more
Jul 31, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I have just finished reading this and feel that I might have to re-read it at some point, purely because I have come away wondering about the sanity of both Ort & his mother; were they not in fact a little bit on the slow side, I wonder.
Forget all the religion in this book for a moment, even though it seems to be a prolific factor to the story, does anyone else think that perhaps there is more to my theory than first thought?
I love the Aussie language - I understand it completely; it's a rea
Feb 27, 2011 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This was my favourite Tim Winton book, even though it never really seemed to win the popularity of some of his other titles. It's told from the perspective of a little boy, and it melted my heart. It ended with a miracle - always a risky way to finish a novel, but it really worked. Another tear jerker.
Oct 13, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Hmmm... I wasn't sure what this book was on about. It started out ok, then I got tired of hearing about all the religious dogma (even if it was put in other words), then it kind of showed the hypocrisy of of it all, and ended with well, I won't say, as I don't want to add a spoiler. It was depressing verging on uplifting verging on well, that's just life. So, there you have it.
Feb 07, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: for-school, reviewed
I probably would have given this book 3 stars if it weren't for that horrible ending
kimm ☾
i read this book for school and didn't think i'd quite enjoy it but i actually did! 'that eye, the sky' is set in rural australia and details a young boy ort's journey after his father gets into an accident. the reader follows him through his process of growing up, maturing + learning more about the world around him. despite it being a quite interesting read, i've never been a fan of books set in rural settings with alot of aussie slang so i found myself getting lost at some bits.
i didn't reali
Kerran Olson
I haven't read a lot of Winton's earlier work, so I picked this up in a second hand book store and read it in a day. Ort and his family are pretty disfunctional and very bogan aussie, like a lot of Winton's characters, and they're so raw and believable. The increasing focus on God and spirituality put me off a little bit, and a lot was left unanswered- to be expected in such a spiritual book- but overall I enjoyed this short read.
Elisabeth Gray
Jun 18, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: favourites
So awkward and beautiful all at the same time.
Stefani Akins
Mar 20, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Whacky, wild, funny, sad all at once. Though barely long enough to qualify as a novel, this story presents Winton at his best. Worth a read for the amazing descriptions of scenery alone.
Anthony Young
Jul 24, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A beautifully written novel by Winton which deals with powerful issues of identity, belief and cultural values.
Robert Collins
There is a fine line when writing from the point of view of a young person; between complete ignorance of yourself and the people around you and an adult too knowing omniscience beyond your years. In writing from Ort's POV Tim Winton carefully conveys his confusion and naivety while giving the reader clues about what is actually going on.

Ort lives in the outskirts of town with his parents, older sister Tegwyn and Grammar. Ort's father is injured in a car accident. The family struggle to cope wi
Underground Writers
That Eye, the Sky is one of Tim Winton’s earlier works before Cloudstreet propelled him to fame. Winton’s writing style is distinct and rich in prose. His style at first appears jarring against his point of view, that of a pre-pubescent boy, Ort Flack. However, this works to his advantage, since Ort isn’t like most boys, or most people. Ort has a unique way of seeing the things, whether in his imagination or the real world. Ort’s life and that of his family and friends starts to unravel after hi ...more
Aug 08, 2012 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
I had to read this book for my English class. It was my first Tim Winton book that I've read, so I was pretty excited to get started. However, this book wasn't for me. I found the dialogue to be quite dull and the religious experience was a bit too tacky for my liking (Henry's story).

One thing I was quite pleased with was the development of the main character, Ort. Adolescence is something that each of us go through and I think that Winton captured the good, bad, and embarrassing moments perfec
Jan 01, 2013 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Another Tim Winton novel that leaves you wondering...though that is what he is particularly good at. At least it makes for interesting discussions with my fellow Tim Winton reader friends.

An interesting group of characters, Ort is a quirky boy who sees the world though cracks in doors, and other odd ways, but has a genuine big heart for his family. His mum, Alice, is great - a left over flower-child who is a bit hopeless, but is living her ideal. And Tegwyn, Ort's sister, breathing slaughter at
Ort is just the bees knees of characters.
Such a great kid... character... funny, innocent, loving and it hurt at times to read this book and feel his suffering. You just want to hold him and make everything alright.
Ort is just the best thing in this book and his relationship with his chicken.
The rest of the book was hard. Tim Winton doesn't write easy stories... he writes hard tales, of hard people in a tough place. My conflict lies in that... I find it really difficult to like the stories he b
Nov 29, 2010 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own-it, 2011
Once again a book about broken lifes but also about the ability to enjoy simple things like swimming in a creek, walking in the woods. I love the character of Ort. He has troubles understanding what happens around him and has his own simple explanation for things (his observations in the Catholic Church made me smile). He may be a bit simple and slow but he has a big heart with lots of space for his mum, his father and grandmother. And maybe for his sister as well although he doesn't understand ...more
Nov 06, 2011 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
To me, That Eye, the Sky felt like a mini australian version of the grapes of wrath. i.e. hard up family, a preacher hanging off the family - a lot to do with hopes and dreams - not really going anywhere.
This book had some good use of australian slang which is not uncommon in Tim's writing. I feel Cloudstreet was a continuation (published later) of this book (I should expand on this).

I would have rated this book higher, however I thought it focused too much on the serious - which bored me to sle
I read this a long time ago and recall really liking it as I’ve liked everything Tim Winton has written, but I couldn’t remember it, and made the terrible mistake of deciding to read this (at bedtime no less) to my daughter. It’s definitely not a children’s book, despite the sweet, bucolic looking cover that my version had. Bucolic, uh no. I have to say that, despite the lyrical writing, and strong characterisation, this is possibly one of the worst books I’ve read in a long time. It’s totally d ...more
Sep 09, 2013 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
A hippie family fails to find paradise in the Australian outskirts. Far from it. But they have each other -- to a point. Enter tragedy, then a false prophet/angel/preacher. Young Ort, our narrator, sees many things, as he constantly looks thru holes and cracks and into things he might better not. The false prophet gets what he wants, the girl and the car, leaving only his Bible. Do Ort, him mum and dad get God? Not sure. Winton weaves multiple sight, eye and vision images seamlessly throughout t ...more
Bernadette Marie
Feb 11, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
For a classic , it actually wasn't that boring..

I was so surprised going through this book thinking it was going to be slow
and I would just lose interest but WOW it was really well done,the way we
see Ort and his family grow is phenomenal. I love how it played humour,
a bit of action but it was a great read and I'm actually really glad I got to
read it for school.

Even though it is a classic definitely one of my favourite classics that I won't
forget.If you like classic novels Check this one out :)
Anthea Mills
Oct 31, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I re-read this book for book group.

Morton (Ort) Flack, aged 12, enjoys a relaxed rural life, under the watchful eye of the sky above. However, Ort's contentment, which is under threat from the encroaching city and the looming peril of High School, is splintered when his father is injured in a car accident. Already caring for an ailing grandparent, Ort's mother and sister are pushed to their limits. Into this crisis steps a flawed preacher looking to save the Flacks. The humour and naivety of Ort
2.5 stars

I like this book because it was weirdly well written despite grammar going out the window and the fact that it's from the perspective of a twelve year old. I really enjoyed it, despite it being an Australian novel which admittedly I loathe, and the fact that was a book I was forced to read for my English class.

It was originally going to be three, maybe four stars, but then it started getting preachy about God, and I personally don't like that. But other than that I found the
Ferrisfancher ha ha
Jan 03, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: you! sucka!
Recommended to Ferrisfancher by: sandy via the book store lady
Sort of a tough nut to crack but I'll go ahead and "go there". A Piognant story of a young crazy boy who's too poor to know nuthin' and makes you want to cry with his simple mind and great big heart. But a little bit boring at times. Only due to the subject matter and you know, australia not having much going on outside the city. Well worth the read. why did i say boring, scrap that. i'm just too high maintenance i guess.
I don't even want to rate this book. I hate it that much. But seeing as I'm a teenager in high-school reading this I must hate a lot of things right? Ugh.

As for the religious part, I'm usually very respectful and try to find understanding to such things but this.......This was just ridiculous. I couldn't even try to understand or empathise. It was just written in a way that simply didn't appeal to me. At all.
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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...