Thursday, October 22, 2009

Blueback and Minimum of Two, a Tim Winton double play!

I had two Tim Winton books to enjoy this week, I felt rich!  Better yet, I now have an Australian source who is going to look for the remaining Winton books to complete my collection at hopefully a cheaper price!

First off, Blueback.  It is described as an adult fable.  It deals with a single mom and her son on the Western Australia coastline.  It was a short read and it disappointed.  I loved the setup, but it dissolved into a rather preachy ecological lecture on global warming and the overharvesting of the ocean.  I can't disagree, but felt it a bit pushy from one of my favorite authors.  I couldn't figure out who he was trying to reach:  is whaling still a problem in Australia?  Or was he going for the women-who-poach-abalone demographic?  Just sort of disappointing. 

Minimum of Two was an ordinary paperback that I spent an ungodly amount of money on, as it is out of print.  I feel like it needs its own safety deposit box.  However, once I began I was not disappointed, it was flawless.  It is similar to his collection of short stories, The Turning.  But this selection is a bit different.  All but two of the shorts deal with the same family, and as always he shows differing viewpoints of different events and times.  It starts with a young boy dealing with his parents divorce, then the other stories are from the standpoint of the father at different points in his life:  dating, newlywed, out of work, dealing with his father's illness, etc.  They aren't in any chronological order, so it takes reading them all to see the complete story of the family.  I like that there are gaps left unexplained so you can ponder what actually happened. 

It's never a happily ever after story with Winton, and this too has it's sadness and poignancy.  What I liked though was how, as I already know how fast life can change, as an individual I can only look back and forward in my own life.  In this set of stories, I could see his life, backwards and forwards, and see what the main character couldn't see:  all his options and choices and how they turned out.  Great book!!!!

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