Tim Winton is one of my favourite Australian writers. He writes strong, muscular prose – his writing is very physical – and because his writing is pared down, it works at a straightforward and powerful level.
Breath is about two boys who catch the surfing bug. Winton captures the breathless rough and tumble of 12 year olds, living in a small, boring Australian town near the coast – you’re THERE, with every page you turn. It’s a coming of age novel that moves from surfing Nirvana, into sexual adventure, the repercussions of which morph into a lifetime of adult struggle.
I’m forever reading respectful praise of Hemingway’s writing – how unadorned it is. I’m no Hemingway fan, all that macho posturing leaves me stone cold, whereas Winton, equally unadorned, delivers breathtaking novels, every time. To me he’s the Australian colossus – telling it like it is, with memorable characters, and landscapes that dance before your very eyes.
I wish I could write like Winton does! If you’ve never tried his books, do yourself a favour and read Breath. I’ve read it twice, and am quite sure I shall read it again in a year or two.