Thirty years before, that dead boy could have been him.
Breath is a story about the wildness of youth – the lust for excitement and terror, the determination to be extraordinary, the wounds that heal and those that don’t – and about learning to live with its passing.
Considered one of Australia’s most loved authors, Tim Winton never-the-less was a first time experience for most of our group this month. A few had at some point had a go at reading Cloudstreet over the years, (with little success) and Dirt Music and Riders had a lukewarm reception by those who had tried Winton previously.
But this month’s pick, Breath, got the thumbs up all around. Everyone considered it not only a great story, but found they learned much from its telling. Heightened sexual pleasure through asphyxiation was one topic we explored as we all knew little of this world. Of course Michael Hutchence found his way into the mix. Whenever you find yourself discussing the real world, you know you’ve read a good book! Also the descriptive prose exploring the rapport between the surfer and the ocean had even the least beachy of us in awe. Also a good sign.
Needless to say, the general opinion was high. “Brave writing”, “Shockingly believable” and “Wonderful story” all found voice, and we had a good look at Winton himself, trying to ascertain how biographical Breath was.
There may be some of us who discover Winton further, or even go back to that damnable Cloudstreet for one more try. But regardless, Winton’s next novel when it appears will be on our list for sure!