February 10, 2018

'Dirt Music' by Tim Winton

Dirt Music - Tim Winton

Dirt music, Fox tells Georgie, is "anything you can play on a verandah or porch, without electricity.” 

This book is a masterpiece by Tim Winton where the language is both lyrical and palpable. He describes the harsh and rugged landscape of Western Australia with great intensity. The reader too, sweats in the torpid midafternoons described in the book or hears the shriek of the straining trees in a cyclone. 

"On the island there are so many unexpected pleasures, like the hot warm boles of the young boab trees he brushes his fingertips in passing. The shapes of these trees delight him. Leaners, swooners, flashers, fat and thin. At the edge of them all is one huge ancient tree, festooned with vines and creepers, whose bark is elephantine. There's glorious asymmetrical spledour about it; it makes him smile just to catch a glimpse of it as he passes. When he climbs it he finds an ossuary on its outspread limbs where some hefty seabird has hauled mudcrabs aloft to feed on. The broken hulls are thick and white as china plates."
Fox's narrative-pg 353

This is a love story of sorts wreathed with loss, anger, loneliness and regret and at times raw with emotion. 

"How might he have told her that the way he lives is a project of forgetting? All the time he's set out wilfully to disremember. and some days it really is possible, in a life full of physical imperatives you can do it, but it's not the same as forgetting. Forgetting is a mercy, an accident"
Fox's narrative- pg 104

I did find the ending somewhat long drawn but this could be due to the fact that I finished the book in many sittings due to lack of time. It did manage to shake me, and that itself was enough in the end. 

Dirt Music was shortlisted for the Booker prize in 2002 and won the Miles Franklin Award in the same year. It has been translated into Russian, French and German.

Dirt Music- Tim Winton (2001)
ISBN: 9780143568797
Publisher: Penguin Books Australia


  1. Sometimes I too take a long time to finish a book. It works both ways - you can drag out the pleasure if the book is really good but, on rare occasions, you tend to forget certain aspects of the plot and that diminishes the pleasure. Of course, if the book is mediocre you give it up before the end !

    1. yes! and then again if the book is a very good read, we give up on the less important things like sleeping and meal times in order to finish it!:)