Jay's Reviews > The Turning

The Turning by Tim Winton
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's review
Feb 06, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: literature-english-language
Read from February 06 to 10, 2011 — I own a copy

The Turning is a collection of 17 interrelated short stories which, in their collectivity, could actually be seen as a novel built around the fictional town of Angelus, in Western Australia. Published between Dirt Music and Breath, the volume is another tour de force from the Australia writer who has twice been shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize.

The stories, as all of Tim Winton’s adult works starting certainly with Shallows, are sharply wrought. There is not a wasted word and those words that float across the page create expertly crafted visions of the human condition unfolding in the harsh environment of Western Australia. Winton’s creations do struggle. They are people of flesh and blood who struggle painfully to escape the torments of their youthful years. There is that determinism in Winton’s universe: few of his people escape untarnished the physical and social environments of their time in Western Australia, in Angelus. Vic Lang, whose history is told in some way in 9 of the stories, notes at one point in his odyssey: “I sat there and hated myself, hated him [=his father] too for making me the dour bastard that I am, forged in shame and disappointment, consoled only by order. Childless. Resigned.”

There is both a fatalism and a sadness that threads through the entire book. Not one of his creations escapes untarnished. Vic Lang, Peter Dyson, Fay Keenan, Max Leaper, Bob Lang, Jackie Martin, Boner McPharlin—these and the other people who crowd his stories can never cut their roots to the past.
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