Score: 5 +++++
Title: Cloudstreet (1991)
Author: Tim Winton
Genre: fiction [Australian classic]
Trivia: (WA) AusReadingMonth @Brona’s Books
Trivia: Winner of 1992 Miles Franklin Award
The Miles Franklin Literary Award is an annual literary prize
awarded to a novel which is of
the highest literary merit and presents
Australian life in any of its phases.
I found this book on Jean Gleeson’s Top 50
Australian books in the last 200 years.
I have discovered so much by reading
Australian classics and that is all because of
Brona’s Books blog! (have a look!)
The book chronicles the lives of two
working class Australian families,
…the Pickles and the Lambs.
They come to live together in a large house
called Cloudstreet in Perth 1943-1963.
Don’t read this book!
If you REALLY want to appreciate the twang and jingle of Winton’s writing
you MUST listen to the audio book.
You can always….re-read the book version!
I was mesmerized by the voices and dialect.
My imagination ran wild envisioning the big house Cloudstreet
a big sagging joint
was boarded up and held its breath
heaved and sighed around them
he listened to the house cracking its knuckles
…hugging inwards, sucking in air…
the house seems to laugh at him…
the house breathes its first painless breath in half a century…
Winton weaves a paranormal feeling throughout the book
by introducing the nameless black man
that seems to pop up here and there in the life of
the main character ‘Quick’ Lamb.
He feels like a ‘black guardian angel’ that
guides Quick in the right direction.
Winton’s cast of characters are unforgettable.
Pickles: Sam and Dolly
He is always waiting for ‘Lady Luck’.
His luck had waxed and waned.
Like a gambler…he was on a lifelong losing streak.”
She realizes she’s had her chances
….beauty fades and suddenly you’re 60 yrs old
with secrets she has never revealed.
Lambs: Lester and Oriel:
He is a lovable father who bears the cross
of a terrible accident that left his son ‘a bit slow’.
He entertains the family “ the knife never lies!” and
comes to the aid of his neighbour, Sam.
He’s a real life saver.
She is god fearing, inflexible ready to
take command in a difficult family situation type of woman
…and is usually always right.
She is the backbone of the entire house Cloudstreet.
The love interest: Quick Lamb and Rose Pickles
Fifteen years they have been living under the same roof but never really noticed one another.
Yet once their orbital paths cross….it was love at first sight.
All these characters have one thing in common…their dreams.
“We all turn into the same thing, don’t we?
Memoires, shadows, worries, dreams.
We all join up somewhere in the end.” (pg 445)
I have enjoyed this audio book while….
…waiting for a train that never came on Tuesday
…quenching my thirst with a Heineken at lunch on Wednesday
…recovering from the aches and pains of a fitness session on Friday
…planting the last tulip bulbs on Saturday.
Now is is Sunday I have no more Pickles and Lambs to look forward to.
I was sad when this book ended.
It made me laugh.
It dazzled me with clever metaphors and similes.
It it made me stop and ponder some life questions
about family, love, commitment and death.
This is the BEST book I read this year!