Dirt Music

by Cellobella on Tuesday, July 31, 2007

I have just finished Dirt Music by Tim Winton.

I went off Tim’s work… Cloudstreet was okay but The Riders was awful and since then I just couldn’t bear to go back but then a person whom I respect said that if I didn’t like Tim’s work, Dirt Music was the one I’d most likely like… so when I saw it on the “yet to be put back on the shelves” trolley at the library* I thought I’d give it a go.

It still took me about a month to pick it up… I had Robin Hobb and JK to read first, not to mention Philippa Gregory and Maeve Binchy (okay okay but I needed to escape)… but eventually I started reading.

And you know what?

I liked it. It was good. I felt the adjectives were a little too frequent in the opening chapters, a little pretentious, but either they weren’t, or I got used to them. I really enjoyed it. Yes and even gasped out loud at the end.

Everyone else has read it so I don’t feel the need to ramble on about the plot but yes, I will pick up this West Australian author again. Tim, you have redeemed yourself!

* I always scour the returns trolley. I love to see what others have been reading and I’ve discovered some new authors which I would never have found on the shelves… I recommend this practice to the regular library visitor as a short cut to new authors. Otherwise I just browse my faves on the shelves…


hazelblackberry August 1, 2007 at 8:27 am

I am off Tim Winton and yet to return. Dirt Music doesn’t appeal to me, but maybe I’ll give it a whirl. I thought the short stories – Minimum of Two or whatever it was called – were just ghastly. Loved Cloudstreet, but also liked The Riders. Lockie Leonard is still great. And The Bugalugs Bum Thief.

English Girl in Pakistan August 8, 2007 at 7:27 pm

i have just, in that crazy moment before you log off when you know you are already past your bedtime and should hav logged off long ago, rmebered your wegsite (see I’m so tired I can’t even trype properly) and seen that you’d read dirt music – at last. Me and my bloke (not known for his novel reading) fought over it on holiday a few years ago. I loved the setting and the slightly lurching narrative, though I thought the ending went on too long,
as if he couln’t quite dfind the right moment to finish everything.
I have started a reading group in Islamabad which is good as we all get to have lunch but we have not had the same group of people at any one of the meetings. Some leave (the country) and each new hostess has invited more people – but it is very cosmopolitan. I was a bit worried when we read what
turned out to be a book full of sex (eleven minutes, Paulo coelo) about how the Muslim ladies would react but they were as eager to talk about it (love and sex) as the rest of us.

I have just finished Kiran Desai ‘The Inheritance of Loss’ which is utterly beautiful writing, (you must read it) and very quickly before that the Secret River which I also enjoyed. It is nice having real free time to read. I am getting our own sofa’s sent out so that I will have something comfy to sit on at last. the ones we inherited ( all 4 of them) are stuffed so tight that you are perched rather than sitting.

After 5 wks in the UK, I wonder when I get back to Pakistan if I will be able to go out as much or if there will be more restrictions. I think it will be OK. I really must get to bed as I keep promising myself a reasonably early night – that means 10.30 not 12.30.

meli August 9, 2007 at 10:29 pm

I enjoyed dirt music, but thought it went on too long and the structure didn’t really work, esp towards the end. In my opinion The Turning is the best thing Winton’s done since Cloudstreet – they’re linked short stories, and I think they really, really work as a whole, and touch upon something terrifying but brilliant. And I’m not just saying terrifying for the sake of it.

feline August 14, 2007 at 8:55 am

Oh! I went off Tim too, Dirt Music didn’t redeem him (for me) though I did love the book – that seems like a contradiction I know but … I read Dirt Music a couple of years ago at Rottnest. Got a HUGE stinger bite (sting?) and lay on the bed on the verhanda for a day and read it.

BUT, I read his latest collection of stories, “The Turning”, and for the first time (perhaps ever) I had an overwhelming urge to write him a letter to thank him for taking me into a world. Like a lover really, a shared world. I grew up in the parts and probably the era that Tim was describing and it was a cathartic and beautiful experience reading his book.

I must add that I’ve just been listening to Paul Kelly’s latest album, “Stolen Apples” and felt similarly about that album, I wanted to contact him and tell him thanks for making my world bigger, for confirming something.

So to sum this very long comment …. sometime artists can verify what exists on the blurry edge of my world, my consciousness. When they do that and clarify for a moment those edges I feel full and satisfied.

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