Loved the start of this book, the language that Winton uses gives an often humourous edge to the visual descriptive. The first time we see the strange, just functioning Pickle family is fishing on the beach. What occurs here sets up a certain mystical vein that runs through the book. It is a vein that had me hooked to see the ultimate outcome of the story to the end.
I really enjoyed the book when it came to the experiences of the families living separately and together in the big house. The unmotivated, complex Pickles vs the Lambs desperate struggle to rise above their situation and improve their lives. Mrs Lamb story was extremely interesting to me and I was so keen for it to be further explored/explained.
It almost seemed to me that Winton wanted to give us a rich tapestry of the two families real lives, but tease us with the suggestion that other more magical and mysterious forces were at work in their world, determining their futures.
I didn’t relate to the location or see this as a particularly ‘Australian’ story, but I am 100% sure that Western Australians would; I’ve never been to WA. Having read the Newfoundland novel Galore last year, I couldn’t help but draw some paralells between the two types of stories. Great familial epics with a suggestion of the other worldliness. although I enjoyed Galore more than Cloudstreet, I still thought Cloudstreet was clever and a fabulous read.
Most of all, I now have some credibility as an Australian reader that I can say I have actually read a ‘Tim Winton’. At times when having book talks with others, this can seem to be a right of passage.