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Eyrie by Tim Winton


by Tim Winton

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3121954,247 (3.73)18

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Somewhat disappointing - passionate writing, evocative setting (high rise housing in Freo) but the flawed characters resulted in a long rambling novel with far too much mental anguish, arguments and drug use. As his mother asked " do you need a neurosurgeon or a detox?" - very sensible woman. The drug scene and impacts on families including the six year old of this novel are sad; the social problems insurmountable. Unsatisfactory ending after 424pages with no resolution of the situation or even real hope for a better future. ( )
  siri51 | Nov 18, 2018 |
I have wanted to read a Tim Winton book for a long time now so when this book came up as the next book for my book club I had high expectations of what it would be like. The many positive reviews about Tim Winton’s work all helped to fuel these expectations.

The beginning of the book was interesting enough that I was happy to continue reading. There was wonderful description of Fremantle which really captured both her beauty and her fickleness. Very quickly, however, I noticed that Winton didn’t use speech marks. Initially this didn’t pose any difficulty for me as I found it was easy to decipher who was speaking due to the way the voice was written. The further into the book I got it became a problem because everyone started sounding the same.

Character development was OK but nothing that really wowed me. We’re introduced to Gemma (a girl that Keely knew from his school days), her grandson Kai, Keely’s sister and mother and some minor characters. My favourite character was probably Keely’s mother, Doris. She was a very strong woman who wouldn’t take any nonsense from anyone least of all her son but her love for him was unmistakable.

In spite of the references to Fremantle and the great descriptions of this part of Western Australia (the reader could see exactly what Winton was describing) I felt this book was lacking in substance and quite honestly I don’t see why Winton is revered as much as he is. This book maybe better as a movie than it proved to be as a book. I’m not sure if I would read anymore of his books by choice. ( )
  zarasecker18 | Aug 22, 2018 |
There was an exuberance about the first chapter of this book - which headed nowhere in particular plot-wise but which seemed content to ramble around the streets of Fremantle ("Leviathan with an irritable bowel") gawking at its inhabitants and sketching them brilliantly - which seemed to point to a long and satisfying read. And the Indian Ocean setting was a great antidote to the freezing cold British winter in which I was reading it. I liked the way the central character's past was filled in sketchily, as though you were glimpsing it through venetian blinds, the coarse laugh-out-loud humour with which the most unsavoury characters were described ("....As he leant contemptuously against the doorjamb, he took the opportunity to reach into his trackpants and huffle his nuts"), and the earthy Aussie slang. Heck, I could even forgive the lack of speech marks and that's one of my pet hates.

Unfortunately at around the time the book afforded a good three pages to a hilarious description
of the local down-and-out there was a change of tone, and the story became an endless cycle of shagging the neighbour, fighting with the neighbour, waking up in the middle of the night to find the neighbour's kid standing there, being threatened by drugs barons, set to endless repeat. There were things I was hoping to hear the conclusion to - did we ever solve the mystery of the wet carpet?? - and yet the novel ended apparently mid-cycle. A bit like when my washing machine breaks down - kind of irritating. I was fascinated by the reviewer on the back cover who reports finishing the book with a "bruised sense of revelation". Now there's a thought. Would I be prepared to take a minor kicking in return for understanding what the hell it was all about? Yeah, maybe. ( )
  jayne_charles | Apr 11, 2018 |
I first bought a Tim Winton book in the SFO airport ironically enough on my way to Australia, not knowing he was a best selling author from there, I actually grabbed it because of the cover, the book was Breath and read it on the plane. Since then I have read a number of his books and they are all good. He has a very lyrical way of telling a story. Unfortunately this is not as good as the other books of his I have read. The writing has his trademark lyrical quality, the problem is the story. There is barely one. Add to this the two main characters Tom Keely and particularly Gemma Buck are not that likable. Tom is a former big time environmentalist who realized too late that most of his protesting was for naught in the mineral rich area of Western Australia. This along with a failed marriage leads him to a major breakdown all prior to the start of the book. For the entire 424 pages Tom is a terribly broken man, getting by on large quantities of prescription drugs, and Alcohol. Gemma is a girl from his childhood with loads of baggage of her own including her grandson because the boy's mother is in prison for Drugs. You know nothing positive will ever come to pass for these two and it is almost as if the author was paid by the word. Definitely not Mr Winton's best work. ( )
  zmagic69 | Feb 27, 2018 |
Set in a dismal tower block of social housing in Freemantle, Australia, a failed eco celebrity warrior tries to lie low and start afresh after some humiliating career debacle (never made clear) He get hooked into dysfunctional family neighbours seemingly on the drugs circuit but again never made clear. Descriptions of urban decay and modern life style are stylistically very smart but there was insufficient story line to keep real interest.
  MarilynKinnon | Jan 14, 2018 |
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they shall mount up with wings as eagles;
they shall run, and not be weary;
and they shall walk, and not faint.

ISAIAH 40:31
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Here was this stain on the carpet, a wet patch big as a coffee table.
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"An exhilarating new book from Australia's most acclaimed writer Tim Winton is Australia's most decorated and beloved literary novelist. Short-listed twice for the Booker Prize and the winner of a record four Miles Franklin Awards for Best Australian Novel, he has a gift for language virtually unrivaled among English-language novelists. His work is both tough and tender, primordial and new--always revealing the raw, instinctual drives that lure us together and rend us apart. In Eyrie, Winton crafts the story of Tom Keely, a man struggling to accomplish good in an utterly fallen world. Once an ambitious, altruistic environmentalist, Keely now finds himself broke, embroiled in scandal, and struggling to piece together some semblance of a life. From the heights of his urban high-rise apartment, he surveys the wreckage of his life and the world he's tumbled out of love with. Just before he descends completely into pills and sorrow, a woman from his past and her preternatural child appear, perched on the edge of disaster, desperate for help. When you're fighting to keep your head above water, how can you save someone else from drowning? As Keely slips into a nightmarish world of con artists, drug dealers, petty violence, and extortion, Winton confronts the cost of benevolence and creates a landscape of uncertainty. Eyrie is a thrilling and vertigo-inducing morality tale, at once brutal and lyrical, from one of our finest storytellers"--"Following a personal crisis, a man struggles to do good in a fallen and nightmarish world"--… (more)

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