Cloudstreet By Tim Winton

Before I launch into Cloudstreet, I will do what we all do, even though time and time again we are told not to.

Judging a book by it’s cover.

First of all, the title. Cloudstreet. This probably is telling us that the story is based on a street called Cloud, or in an area called Cloudstreet. The more unlikely interpretation is that there is a street made out of clouds, so I’ll go with the idea of Cloudstreet being the setting.

The picture on the cover, indicates that there will be children in this story, or maybe not, covers are not always very good descriptions of a book.

Tim Winton is the author, and he is an Australian author at that. He is an acclaimed author, and regarded as one of the ‘best’ Australia authors. Some of his previous work that I have personally read, includes The Riders and The Turning both have been well written. The Riders has some confusing elements though, that may just have been lost on me, while The Turning,which is comprised of 17 interweaving short stories, only gets confusing in the fact that you have to try to remember whose who, when you chop and change between characters and stories. If you have never read any of his work, or indeed have never heard of him, I do suggest you pick up one of his books, maybe even Cloudstreet to read along with me.

The cover even suggests, ‘The modern Australian classic’, well that makes big claims about the story, let’s see if it lives up to such a claim as a classic.

Now the blurb. “From separate catastrophes two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloustreet, where they begin their lives again from scratch.” So it seems the setting is indeed Cloudstreet, and that there are most likely children in this story from either family or from both families. ‘Separate catastrophes’, I hope we eventually get to know what these catastrophes are. “For twenty years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts.” It sounds as if there will be some tension between the two families, but amidst that they all have a good time and become one family. I must admit I thought it said until the roof falls over their heads, which made me think, gosh they die soon, what will this book be about?

The back cover ends with more raving reviews of Cloudstreet and says as much as the book being a “funny, sprawling saga” and “is an epic novel of love and acceptance”.

The book has recently been produced into a television mini-series and has been on Foxtel in Australia and will soon be premiering in England on the Sky Atlantic channel. If I get the chance in the future I will review the adaptation of this book.


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