Review: The Turning by Tim Winton

Title: The Turning

Author: Tim Winton

Published: Penguin Australia September 2013

Read an Extract

Status: Read from September 21 to 22, 2013 — I own a copy {Courtesy the publisher/Netgalley}

My Thoughts:

In a series of compelling short stories variously connected by time, place and character, Tim Winton’s The Turning explores the trajectory of ordinary lives irrevocably altered by disappointment, tragedy, struggle and the yearning for something different…something more.

Set in Western Australia, the stories feature residents with ties to the fictional coastal town of Angelus. Though Winton shifts back and forth during the lifetime of of one man, Vic, who appears in nine of the seventeen stories, the stories begin in the 1970’s.

The stories in The Turning focus on moments of change for the characters, sometimes as a result of a significant event or deliberate decision but more often simply as a result of circumstance, a chance meeting, or a seemingly trivial act. There is a strong thread of fatalism through the stories, the idea that a persons journey is predestined. Winston’s characters are largely resigned to their past and their future, any hope for escape, for change, glimmering just out of reach.

I found Winton’s child and teenage characters the most affecting, empathising with their confusion at changes thrust upon them, pitying the erosion of their innocence and dreams. The adult male characters are generally grimly working class, from fishermen to abattoir workers. The women are often mothers, though not always housewives. The Turning is often bleak and depressing as Winton exposes domestic violence, addiction and corruption.

Though nominally a collection of short stories, I feel The Turning is essentially an unusually structured novel and as such it is best to consider the individual stories as chapters, though they are capable of standing on their own. The connections are sometimes subtle but they are there for the discerning reader to discover, ensuring continuity and flow. The writing is effortless, eloquent and emotive, capturing the essence of place and people without unnecessary flourish.

Though first published in 2005, The Turning has been republished in e-format to coincide with this month’s (September 2013) movie adaption release in Australian cinema’s starring Rose Byrne, Cate Blanchett, Richard Roxburgh, Miranda Otto and Hugo Weaving among others. The Turning is moving and compelling reading and I will be interested to see how it translates to the big screen.

Available to Purchase From

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via Booko

Watch the Movie Trailer


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