Breath (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
Although many American readers may not be familiar with the fiction of Tim Winton, he is one of Australia’s most popular writers. His novel Cloudstreet (1991) topped the list of favorite books compiled by several thousand Australian radio listeners in 2002 and also by several hundred members of the Australian Society of Authors. His novel Dirt Music (2001) was third and fourth on the two lists, respectively.
After publishing a well-received collection of short stories, The Turning (2004), Winton returns to the novel format. Breath is a traditional bildungsroman about the coming of age of a young man in a small town on the western coast of Australia in the early 1970’s. It begins with a brief account of the middle-aged protagonist Bruce Pike making an emergency call as a paramedic in an Australian city. Later, after Pike awakens from a dream of being underwater and seeing himself swimming down to rescue himself, he plays his didjeridu (an Australian wind instrument) and begins the story of his youth in Sawyer, a small mill town a few miles from the sea on the western coast of Australia.
Pike is a solitary child with parents older than those of his friends; the only thing he excels at is swimming. He is eleven when he meets Ivan Loon, nicknamed Loonie, a twelve-year-old, who tricks people into thinking he is drowning in the river by holding his breath for a long time under water. On a dare, Pike, nicknamed...
(The entire section is 1753 words.)
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Bibliography (Magill's Literary Annual 2009)
The Economist 387 (April 26, 2008): 108.
Kirkus Reviews 76, no. 7 (April 1, 2008): 329.
Library Journal 133, no. 7 (April 15, 2008): 78-79.
Los Angeles Times, June 1, 2008, p. R2.
The New York Review of Books 55, no. 13 (August 14, 2008): 28-29.
The New York Times Book Review, June 8, 2008, p. 17.
The New Yorker 84, no. 20 (July 7, 2008): 95.
Outside 33, no. 7 (July, 2008): 34.
Publishers Weekly 244, no. 14 (April 7, 2008): 40.
The Spectator 307 (May 3, 2008): 36-37.
(The entire section is 51 words.)