Thursday, 29 August 2013

Tim Winton ~ EYRIE ~ Abbey's Bookseller Reviews

Eyrie by Tim Winton at Abbey's Bookshop 131 York Street, Sydney

I have been reading Tim Winton since he won the Vogel back in 1981, and I am a great admirer of his writing. In his new book, his powers of description are very apparent - the only other person who comes close to his descriptions of the western coasts for me is the poet John Kinsella. I dare say anyone familiar with Fremantle will see the area faithfully depicted in all its hybrid vigour.

The main character, Tom Keely, is holed up in a faded apartment block with million dollar views; he has no plans for the future, a pretty disturbing present, and a past which is only sketchily understood by the reader. When a new resident turns out to be a girl from his old neighbourhood, with custody over her detached and fey grandson, Keely finds himself reluctantly connecting with them.

I took a while to get into the story, and I came away unsatisfied with the narrative. Winton spins a believable world populated with people on the edge, but unlike every other vaguely annoying book of his where the story just ends without resolution, I found myself annoyed that I had followed the characters through to yet another non-conclusion, and not understood what had happened. I also wondered if Winton's involvement in conservation causes had shaken him so much that he had to unload some of the negativity into this novel? This is not to say it isn't full of fine writing, but as a librarian friend of mine says, "Winton can sure write, but he can't end a story for peanuts!". This time, I have to agree with her!

Tom Keely is a broken man. Failed marriage and career, he is searching for redemption. When a woman from his past resurfaces with her enigmatic grandson, Keely finds both his past and present colliding with explosive consequences. Winton’s new book has divided opinion in the shop, but from my perspective I found this an incredibly disturbing and powerful read. The author demands the reader's participation, hence there are definitely loose ends in the story. For me this adds to the book's power and I found myself unable to put it down. Highly recommended.

Written in a very staccato way - quite disturbing. Well done, but not for me.

Tim Winton has been one my favourite authors for many years.  I love his ability to intricately capture humanity on all levels, and images and environments that conjure such rich memories and familiarities that you just KNOW even if it is simply off his prose and not experience. Winton has certainly used that skill in every way in Eyrie. You can nearly feel the heat oozing out of the page, you can nearly taste the acrid wine and you can darn well empathise with every single character you meet.

Tom Keely has been unemployed for a while, his money is running out and his once important and beloved career will never be brought back to life. With troubles and headaches lunging at him from every corner, all he needs is for a forgotten piece of his past to come crashing through his door. And of course it does, in a most unlikely and seemingly rewarding way. I simply tore through this book, I drank in every page and the prose restored my lately failing faith in fiction. 

Eyrie is one of my books of the year and I highly recommend it for Winton fans, for lovers of literature and if you haven't yet had the pleasure of being introduced to Winton's eloquent and exact language - start with this one. Please! It is truly a morsel that you will devour and savour all at once.


Buy this book at Abbey's (131 York Street Sydney) ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers

Abbey's ~ An Aladdin's cave for readers

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