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3.97  ·  Rating details ·  15,018 Ratings  ·  1,106 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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Popular Answered Questions

Jen The sexual content/innuendo must have totally gone over my head- I have no idea what you are referencing here!
Boy Blue You've got to read about 75 pages in your first sitting so that the characters all form in your head. They are drawn so perfectly you'll be unable to…moreYou've got to read about 75 pages in your first sitting so that the characters all form in your head. They are drawn so perfectly you'll be unable to shake them long after you're finished. It's also a bit hard because the first section of the novel is the ending, which just makes everything a bit confusing. Stick with it and watch the characters come alive.(less)

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Apr 23, 2011 rated it liked it
Shelves: fiction, book-club
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
Julie Christine
Feb 01, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Recommended to Julie Christine by: Brendan
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
Jan 23, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian, anglo
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
Dec 16, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Edward by: Fabfabian
Introduction, by Philip Hensher


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 02, 2011 rated it did not like it
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
Janet Forster
Jan 16, 2016 rated it it was amazing
It took me two years to get onto Cloudstreet. A friend gave it to me for my birthday, but the way the bookshelf bowed under the weight of it said I’d need passion and commitment to tackle it and for a long while the timing just wasn’t quite right!

But finally it’s done!! And I’m so glad I persevered. It took more than a few pages to get into it, although the brilliance of Tim Winton’s writing was evident immediately. If anyone can transport you back in time then he can. Reading Cloudstreet was a
Oct 31, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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
Diane Barnes
Nov 28, 2013 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: lit-fiction
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
☼♄Jülie 

Lamb and Pickles?

The story is about two very dysfunctional Australian working class families...the Lamb's and the Pickles' during the 1940's-60's.
This story evokes such a wide range of emotions from the reader...often in quick succession...that it is at times quite draining. I had to take regular breaks just to take a few deep breaths before I could go on.
Brilliantly told in such a way as to make you feel like you are right there...wanting to scream along with them or at them! It is a very emot
Sep 09, 2015 rated it it was amazing
I thank heavens I didn't give up on this one, having started it a couple of years ago and let it drift onto some nominal pile of 'not sure why I've put this down' books. Last week it got its second chance when I took it to Berlin figuring it would either get read, or get left. In fact my nose was scarcely out of it.

It's a stunning achievement, Australian through and through, but utterly universal in its themes: at the risk of this being a spoiler, it is about the journey to understanding there
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it
Recommended to El by: The Roundtable
First off, this is an incredibly hard book for me to rate and review. It started out so strong, I really loved everything about it and couldn't wait to get to know each of the characters in more detail. And there are quite a few characters. The Pickle family and the Lamb family. They come together in an unexpected way when the Pickles move into a large house called Cloudstreet thanks to an inheritance, and because they are poor, they take on the Lambs as tenants. The two families are rather diss ...more
Oct 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
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
Nov 28, 2007 rated it it was amazing
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.
Jan 23, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: ozzie-gems
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
Oct 08, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
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
Aug 19, 2014 rated it liked it
This one's a 3.5 for me. I felt it was a little overlong and I'm always a bit put off when books have been hailed as "classics" - it makes me a bit over critical in all honesty.

Having said that, there were things i really enjoyed about this. Being from Western Australia, there was a lot of the language I could really relate to - stuff my mum used to say that I haven't heard for years! That was really sweet and nostaligic for me. Even though it was a bit over ambititious there was a nice tone th
Larry Deaton
Feb 23, 2016 rated it it was amazing
I won't even attempt to tell the story that is in this book. Let's just say two families share a house in Perth, Australia for several decades. Time passes, the people change, and the House continues.

It's just a stunning book in its use of language, development of characters, and the story itself. The word unforgettable is used too much for many books, but Cloudstreet is exactly that. I believe I will remember this book for the rest of my life. Some of the minor characters, ones who are non-fami
Feb 26, 2010 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
May 15, 2013 rated it liked it
Shelves: audio-books
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
Aug 02, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Oct 31, 2010 rated it it was amazing
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
Apr 10, 2012 rated it liked it
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
Colleen Stone
Dec 11, 2012 rated it it was amazing
"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
Shania Tasker
Jul 19, 2015 rated it it was ok
Why, oh why do school books always have to be boring?!
I didn't hate this book, but it was just so dull that it was impossible to really enjoy. I didn't mind some parts of this book, like Fish. I'm not sure why, but I thought he was a cool character. But overall, I thought this was a boring book, but Im not even really sure what the whole thing is about so maybe that's why I didn't enjoy it
Mar 02, 2016 rated it liked it
This is a hard book to review. I have a few conflicting thoughts on it.
First, this is an interesting family saga, spanning about 20 years in the lives of 2 families who live in one house. The families are different in temperament, lifestyle and ambition. They coexist, rather than cohabitate.
The story starts strong. I as pulled into the story right away and didn't want to put the book down. By the middle of the book, I found myself not really caring too much about the families and wanting the st
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
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
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Aussie Readers: cloudstreet by Tim Winton 3 58 May 03, 2012 10:57PM  
  • The White Earth
  • The Harp in the South
  • Eucalyptus
  • My Brother Jack
  • The Great World
  • A Fortunate Life
  • Drylands
  • My Brilliant Career
  • Sound of One Hand Clapping
  • The Secret River
  • Monkey Grip
  • Tirra Lirra by the River
  • The Tree Of Man
  • Journey to the Stone Country
  • Carpentaria
  • Bliss
  • That Deadman Dance
  • Tall Man: The Death of Doomadgee
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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“When I was a girl I had this strong feeling that I didn't belong anywhere,... It was in my head, what I thought and dreamt, what I believed..., that's where I belonged, that was my country.” 18 likes
“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.” 18 likes
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