I finished Dirt Music (Tim Winton) with a sense of loss. I was sorry to see the story end, especially as no clear conclusion was reached. That's okay, I'm a grownup, I can handle there not being a defined ending (I've given up on happy endings). Without giving any spoilers, a few thoughts:
Tim Winton is so detailed and thorough that you get a sense of every detail in the scenes. The weather, the feel of the dust on your skin, the smells of the eucalyptus, as well as the emotions of the character are felt, not simply read. I didn't care for the main female character, I thought she was unsympathetic and apathetic to other characters, even the one she loves. The male lead is great, but of course, it's fiction! He has to be THAT perfect to make it work.
The main themes are overcoming your own personality flaws, and the fear of being left behind. Winton's main character Lu has lost everyone he loves; on this journey he meets several characters that could represent those faces from his past. He also has to face the reality that his own perceptions from the past may have been wrong. Horrifyingly so.
Rumor has it that this will become a film. Rachel Weisz is signed to play Georgia, which sounds fine. But there is a bit of a mystery regarding Russell Crowe and Colin Farrell. IMDB, the movie database, lists Colin as playing Lu. However, another report says Russell would play Lu. The other main male character, Jim, is pretty fascinating: he could be played by Russell but defintely not Colin. So I'm not sure which is accurate. I hope that Russell plays Lu, but he could do the character Jim Buckridge with a bit of a evil streak which might be interesting to see.
I'd be very interested to see how a screenplay could be written to show the amount of time passing as well as do justice to the Australian terrain and the long stretches without dialogue. My first reaction was that it would be compared with Tom Hank's Castaway. I think Russell could carry that, I don't think Colin has that much depth.
Anyway, this book had me take out the atlas, the dictionary, and use Google several times to see the trees and earthforms he describes. I think a geologist would particularly like this book, lots of rock talk.
Lastly, I've noticed that in the three Winton books I've read that Winton seems to idolize children, almost in a mythological way. That's not a bad thing, but it just seems that the children in his books develop almost a fairy like quality of mystery and perfection.
I have two more Winton books coming in the mail. I am rationing them, savoring each chapter so I don't run out of this delicious stuff too soon. Highly recommend!