I couldn’t put it down the first time and I couldn’t put it down the next. For a fairly slim book that started out as a love present to my husband, it has rapidly become a personal favourite with its impact pleasing on many levels.
From page one, your senses are put on High Alert with delicious little morsels of texts like ‘the briny smell of the sea’, ‘whitebait cracking the surface’ and ‘fat tide’, peppering the page. Initially, Mr Winton takes you back to his childhood summers and though yours may have been completely different, or not too dissimilar, I found myself experiencing his narrative on a truly personal level. You easily respond to his unsurpassed imagery. You are there. These are your memories as well. His thoughts, understanding, observations and experiences are yours too.
He describes the beach, the sea, the wind with innate experience, admiration and poetry. As well as providing the reader with a little context of where his passion for reading and writing was born.
He depicts 1960s/1970s Aussie suburbia to a T. And this is where you might need to take some deep breaths and prepare yourself, for I’m about to provide you with a little further background…for I, yes I, am indeed a child of 1970s Aussie suburbia… A place where you’d have to run really fast over the fat, sharp, dry grass to avoid bindis; having a second hand bike was your ticket to freedom; and a setting where you could sit for hours admiring the intelligent design of the Hills Hoist.
Carrying forward from his childhood reflections, you gain further exposure to his previous (and present) existence and adoration of living with the land behind him and the expanse of sea in front.
Sharks never being a particular favourite, I now somehow understand (though not fluently) and respect. Additionally, the sea and coast are explored with reverence.
He beautifully details dolphin majesty – so be warned you might find yourself also searching like a crazy lady for cheap flights to Perth.
The experience of near drowning is described, not in a terrifying, best avoided at all costs kind of a way, rather more matter of factly, something that’s part of the programme.
This wonderfully crafted homage to Land’s Edge is delicious prose at its peak.
Be Wise. Go find it!