Tuesday, 16 July 2013

Review of Dirt Music by Tim Winton

Dirt MusicDirt Music by Tim Winton
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Quite good, but unevenly plotted. The book creeps up on your slowly, then grabs you, then lets you go, and you wander around for a while thinking 'well, I've been caught once, there's no point in running too far, I'll only be delaying the inevitable', and then you're grabbed and shaken for the finale.

The novel centres on the relationship of Georgie and Fox, and at the beginning of the novel it seems that Georgie is going to be the protagonist: an unattached kind of drifter who will fight hard for a man she really wants. However, most of the character progression and journeying happens to Fox, a loner ex-musician with a dark past, and to Jim Buckridge, Georgie's current partner. While the novel's set up to appeal to women with a kind of romance-novel plot and protagonist, it's actually the two male characters who are most interesting, whose ideas about life and what they need from it are explored, who set each other in contrast.

The novel's full of great depictions of Australia and its people, excellent dialogue, real humour, well-realised supporting characters, and an emotional centre that is convincing and beautiful: I cared deeply about Georgie, Fox, and Jim, and I wanted to know what would happen to them. What let it down for me, and kept me from giving the book five stars, is the slow and meandering final third of the book, where it seems Winton is holding off the resolution unnecessarily.

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