For years, Jaxie Clackton has dreaded going home. His beloved mum is dead, and he wishes his dad was too, until one terrible moment leaves his life stripped to nothing. No-one ever told Jaxie Clackton to be careful what he wishes for. And so Jaxie runs. There's just one person in the world who understands him, but to reach her he'll have to cross the vast saltlands of Western Australia. It is a place that harbours criminals and threatens to kill those who haven't reckoned with its hot, waterless vastness.
Night falls. In a lonely valley called the Sink, four people prepare for a quiet evening. Murray Jaccob sees a moving shadow in his orchard. Across the swamp, his neighbour Ronnie watches her lover leave and feels her baby roll inside her. And on the verandah of the Stubbses house, a small dog is torn screaming from its leash by something unseen. Nothing will ever be the same again.
Abel Jackson loves to dive. He's a natural in the water. He can't remember a time when he couldn't use a mask and snorkel to glide down into the clear deep. Life is tough out at Longboat Bay. Every day the boy helps his mother earn their living from the sea and the land. It's hard work, but Abel has the bush and the sky and the bay to himself. Until the day he meets Blueback, the fish that changes his life. Blueback is about people learning from nature.
Two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives from scratch. For 20 years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts.
Fred Scully waits at the arrival gate of an international airport, anxious to see his wife and seven-year-old daughter. After two years in Europe they are finally settling down. He sees a new life before them, a stable outlook, a cottage in the Irish countryside that he's renovated by hand. He's waited, sweated on this reunion. He does not like to be alone - he's that kind of man. The flight lands, the glass doors hiss open, and Scully's life begins to go down in flames.
Tim Winton's characters are ordinary people who battle to maintain loyalty against all odds; women, children, men whose relationships strain under pressure and leave them bewildered, hoping, sometimes fleeing, but often finding strength in forgotten parts of themselves.
The remarkable true stories in The Boy Behind the Curtain reveal an intimate and rare view of Tim Winton's imagination at work and play. In Tim Winton's fiction, chaos waits in the wings and ordinary people are ambushed by events and emotions beyond their control. Winton's own life has also been shaped by havoc.
'I grew up on the world's largest island.' This apparently simple fact is the starting point for Tim Winton's beautiful, evocative and sometimes provocative memoir of how this unique landscape has shaped him and his writing. For over 30 years, Winton has written novels in which the natural world is as much a living presence as any character.
Ort knows that the sky is watching. He knows what it means to watch. Things are terribly wrong. His father is withering away, his sister is consumed by hatred, his grandmother is all inside herself, and his mother, a flower-child of the 1960s, is brave but helpless. Then a strange man appears at their door. That Eye, the Sky is about love, about a boy's vision of the world beyond, about the blurry distinctions between the natural and the supernatural.
Tim Winton's first collection of stories deals with men, women and children whose lives are coming apart and whose hearts are breaking. These spare, jagged stories, in which people struggle with change and disintegration, are vintage Winton.
Whales have always been the life-force of Angelus, a small town on the south coast of Western Australia. Their annual passing defines the rhythms of a life where little changes, and the town depends on their carcasses. So when the battle begins on the beaches outside the town, and when Queenie Cookson, a local girl, joins the Greenies to make amends for the crimes of her whaling ancestors, it can only throw everything into chaos.