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In the Winter Dark

3.53  ·  Rating details ·  865 Ratings  ·  80 Reviews
Night falls. In a lonely valley called the Sink, four people prepare for a quiet evening. Then in his orchard, Murray Jaccob sees a moving shadow. Across the swamp, his neighbour Ronnie watches her lover leave and feels her baby roll inside her. And on the verandah of the Stubbses' house, a small dog is torn screaming from its leash by something unseen. Nothing will ever b ...more
Paperback, 110 pages
Published April 1st 2003 by Pan MacMillan (first published 1988)
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B the BookAddict
May 17, 2013 rated it really liked it


In the Winter Dark harks of economy. It is a mere slip of a book, a novella; set in one place and with only four characters. The vivid imagery is placed with an amazing economy of words. Tension rises in sometimes two sentences and the climax erupts in a couple of words. Everything happens in one place called the Sink and when you read about it, you find you sink into it.

Four neighbours on bush properties, they all have chosen to live in the Sink for their own private reasons. Stubbs, his wife
...more
Kim
Sep 23, 2014 rated it liked it

I do love Tim Winton's writing: taut prose, lots of atmosphere and a strong sense of place. However, this novella is early Winton and not really up to the standard of the best of his later work. The excellent prose is there, as is the connection to the environment. There's not a lot of character development, though, and the plot, as suspenseful as it is, wasn't as compelling as I would have liked.

Still, less-than-spectacular Tim Winton is a lot better than the best that many other novelists hav
...more
Jeanette
Oct 08, 2015 rated it liked it
If you like them dark and the people sparse, you'll like this one. Bleak, bleak, bleak. If it was I, leaving the Sink would be as close to immediate as possible in any real time scenario. And it wouldn't be because of a monster in the forest either.
Jay
Feb 06, 2011 rated it liked it
Tim Winton’s “In the Winter Dark” is the fourth of his novels, sandwiched between “That Eye, That Sky” (1986) and his breakout novel, “Cloudstreet” (1991). It is a short piece—110 pages in the Picador edition—that has all of the seeds that will sprout to characterize Winton’s future production. Those characteristics include a prose that is crisp, taut, sparse and engaging; careful description of the physical environment—in this case the isolated, rural landscape of Western Australia—that is as i ...more
Hannah Louey
Aug 22, 2014 rated it really liked it
http://setinmotion1.wordpress.com/201...

Tim Winton is basically a superstar in terms of Australian literary history. Every time he writes a book, the Miles Franklin judges are practically like ‘Oh, Tim, just take the award. Just take it!’ If this were high school (and we lived in America), Tim Winton would be the cool, drama kid who reluctantly accepts the award of prom king, after turning up to the event as an ironic statement about the bourgeoisie society that we live in.

Essentially, Tim Winto
...more
Lotus
Mar 13, 2012 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is an earlier Winton and am unsure about it. I have generally liked most of his works but this one leaves me unsure. It was good, interesting and I wanted to keep reading but I still don't really know how to make sense of it?? I don't mind that the ending was never really CLEAR as that often happens with Winton books but I just found that I had no real explanation for it. As usual his characters are easy to get to know and to like and they are all built well but I thought the story-line was ...more
Taylor
Jul 30, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 4-stars, my-library
There's not an awful lot to this novel (plot wise) but I'm awfully compelled to it. The writing is very vivid and the creation of atmospheres is incredible. I knew it was going to be one of those books that makes you feel a bit uncomfortable when it's gone. It has some sort of aura that's very alluring and entrancing. Winton's incredible at orchestrating suspense and keeping you in it for most of the book.
It's not really what's out there but what's in you, that 'Winter Dark'.
Sharni Alexander
This was my first experience of Tim Winton: it had me on the edge of my seat and was greatly successful in filling me with fear.
If I was the type of person who enjoyed the adrenaline of terror I would have given this read more stars, but as I immensely dislike books of the thriller/horror variety I am only giving it a 3/5.
N.
Jul 16, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Warning, first: There is cat torture in this book. I'm a cat lover, so it was not an easy read. But, wow, the writing . . . it's just amazing.

I own several books by Tim Winton but haven't read any of them and I was in Australia, looking for something to read because my copy of Gone With the Wind (which I anticipated keeping me busy for the entire vacation) was going to pieces. My Australian friend said Winton is considered the Australian writer, so I bought a copy of In the Winter Dark, a novell
...more
Matt
Jan 24, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
In the Winter Dark is not a story to read if you desire a certain amount of closure when it comes to stories about mysterious beasts stalking the countryside, nor is it one for lovers of gore. But it was a very interesting story which I read through rather quickly.

I've never read anything by Winton before, he seems to be capable of conveying what is going on with very few words. And I never felt any of the story was rushed or incomplete. Truth be told, I usually steer clear of Australian author
...more
Muphyn
This was not my favourite Winton at all. In fact, I'm still mulling over the ending, I didn't get it.

He usually evokes a strong sense of "I must travel to WA some time soon" in me but this did nothing for me. I was intrigued about what was going on at the farm to an extent but I didn't care about any of the characters and the ending was just "huh?! What just happened??..."

Since I loved "Dirt Music" so much and have had "Cloudstreet" sitting on my bookshelves forever, I'll definitely give Winton
...more
Meg Shooter
Mar 10, 2012 rated it really liked it
'In the Winter Dark' is my favourite Winton novel. It conjures the Australian Landscape like no other book. It's spooky undertones will never leave you once you've entered into the winter.
Peter
Mar 26, 2011 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2011
Good sense of place, a haunting story.
Sandra
Jul 13, 2017 rated it really liked it
First time I read this (apart from feeling a little cheated at its slenderness) I was more conscious of the tragedy of it all than of the strength of Tim Winton's writing, even though I'd doubtless bought it in the aftermath of being bowled over by 'Dirt Music'. Its still dark, feral and tragic yet alive at the same time. And breathtaking.
Amber Wells
Jun 08, 2017 rated it liked it
A nice little thriller that explains the story mostly through memories and dreams. I related well to the language of this book as it uses Australian colloquial language often.
Tiana
May 28, 2017 rated it liked it
Tim Winton as a wonderful writing style. I did find the book to have no real resolution though but still it is a good read, holding mysterious and secrets in every page.
Emma
Dec 26, 2016 rated it really liked it
Writing: 4/5
Plot: 4/5
Characters: 4/5
Ending: 4/5
Jim
Nov 07, 2012 rated it liked it
The one thing you can pretty much count on is that people who choose to live in isolated areas, if not completely alone but with few neighbours with whom they rarely socialise, is that they'll have one or two things they really, really don't want to talk about. This novella was written in 1988 and filmed ten years later, on the cheap from all accounts but it's got its fans, not that it really needs a big budget; apart from one short trip into what passes for the local town all the action takes p ...more
David
May 29, 2016 rated it it was amazing
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
★ Jess
Dear Aspiring Indie Film-Maker

You've done a couple of short-films, full of quirky characters and mildly-amusing scripts. You want to kick-start your career and be noticed. Well, I have a suggestion. In the Winter Dark. Tim Winton is possibly the most loved Australian author, yet this is the book that No One Knows Exists. Adapt it.
Take a break from your light hearted/short films/dark comedies, and put this 130 page novel to the big screen.
There are only four characters to worry about. Maurice
...more
Kathryn
Apr 08, 2014 rated it really liked it
One of Australian author Tim Winton's most intriguing tales is this short novella, set in an isolated valley known as the Sink. There are only four characters in this book--two men and two women. Through their harrowing experiences, the question is raised, which is more dangerous--the outside world or what lies within us?

The novella opens with Maurice Stubbs, an older man who has lived in the valley with his wife Ida for many years. When the novella opens, the horror is already over, but Maurice
...more
Bronwyn Rykiert
Jun 26, 2013 rated it it was ok
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Tania
Dec 30, 2008 rated it liked it
Shelves: library-books
quotes#776268 from my notebook of quotes

You get that big church feeling up there in the forest. We were running out of fuel early this winter, so I took the chainsaw with me to feel like I was working and not just farting about. I dawdled the ute along the muddy tracks in the broken light looking for windfalls. It didn't take long to spot a toppled tree. I stopped and got out. The wind sounded like a choir way above. I grabbed the axe from the rear tray, picked my way through the undergrowth wit
...more
Emma Makes
Jan 04, 2011 rated it really liked it
Nobody does tension and suspense like Tim Winton - this book skipped along and was a thoroughly enjoyable read in Mr Winton's usual well-crafted language.

The group of four characters were relate-able, well-crafted and believable. Having grown up in a rural area, the setting was true and the story something that I wanted to return to at once, so I ended up reading this in a day.

I enjoyed the snippets and clues of narrative that wove into the main story and brought a depth and interest.

A great rea
...more
Sue
Oct 13, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Wanted to read this book for so long and it took me ages to get it at a 'sensible price'. Dealers were asking stupid prices just for a paperback and I refused to pay them. But, thankfully supplies must be getting better cos I got one in the end for £5.50 - cheaper than the likes of even Waterstones (who btw couldn't supply even though they advertise it for sale!)
Well, the book did not disappoint - brilliant prose, brilliant story and - unusually for some of Winton's books - a clear ending...exce
...more
Brian Edgar
Oct 26, 2015 rated it liked it
This must be about the 6th Tim Winton book I have read and I found it not as satisfying as his others. So I was pleased to see it was an earlier novella and so shows the master story teller developing his skill. I mainly wanted to no more of what happened at the end and how the various characters connected. It is possible that I missed something as I was listening to the audiobook while in the garden. I might well read this interview one day and try it again. I certainly was hugely engrossed in ...more
Kit
Jun 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
In The Winter Dark is gothic literature at its best. The four main characters, Ida, Maurice, Ronnie and Jaccob all have their inner fears and regrets which haunt them at every turn. This inward fear is portrayed as a physical being, 'the cat', which Maurice is determined to kill. Their isolation from society forces them to collaborate as neighbours to solve the mystery. In The Winter Dark has many underlying themes to it, which make it a great book to study and comprehend. I definitely recommend ...more
Trisha
Jan 18, 2017 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
An easy read due to its economy of words, but no other sense of ease in this suspenseful, twisted story. Not a massive Winton fan, I was prepared to give this book a go and I was not disappointed. I did not want to stop reading until I had reached the end. Gritty characters that held back from revealing too much of themselves; a sinister atmosphere blanketing the words; and a text stripped back to the necessities. Very pleased I read this book. 3.5 stars
Sean
Aug 03, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
An early and creepy novella from one of the masters of modern Australian literature. joins the pantheon of Oz writing about "something scary out in the bush". Nothing new in the tale itself; all the skill is in the writing, the building of suspense, the multiple narratives, the misdirection skillfully employed, the layering of imagery, the appeal to our primal state... great fun.
Greta
Feb 10, 2012 rated it liked it
An area named 'The Sink' is the homeplace for 3 separate households who take pleasure in their personal independence until disaster strikes. Magical, mysterious memories of death resurface as a pet and many farm animals are discovered death. Perhaps, someone else can make better sense of the insular nature of these residents, I found it a lot strange.
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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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