Despite the fact that Tim Winton is one of Australia’s most highly regarded contemporary writers, I’d never read any of his books before this – I own a copy of Cloudstreet that my cousin gave to me, but I wasn’t particularly captivated by it.
Breath really is just as it’s title may suggest, a breath of fresh air. It’s a summer book; a coming-of-age story that winds around the experiences of Pikelet and his wild friend, Loonie. I thought this would be All About Surfing And Nothing Else At All, and that put me off at first, but I decided to read it anyway. I’m glad I did, because I found myself immersed in this book. Yes, it is a surfing story, but above all else, I think Breath is about the pursuit of life, of excitement and risk – the pursuit of the extraodinary:
More than once since then I’ve wondered whether the life-threatening high jinks that Loonie and I and Sando and Eva got up to in the years of my adolescence were anything more than a rebellion against the monotony of drawing breath
The language apppears sparse at first, seeming only to touch upon the necessary, in abrupt bursts of sentences, but I soon realised that the prose flows richly because of its simplicity. I absolutely despised the ending. It was clever, it did tie everything together, it was an interesting conclusion, but it was still sort of disappointing. And I despised Eva, and her relationship with PIkelet, although I do realise that this was an integral part of the story.
I think I’ll be giving Cloudstreet another go.