By Tim Winton
When I began choosing books for a Book Club in Madrid I was worried that I might end up just selecting books I like. Several years on, that is probably the case, inasmuch as I never chose a book I dislike. What I try and do, however, is read books chosen more or less at random, as a way of broadening my own process of selection. One such choice, bought “sight unseen” was Tim Winton’s Dirt Music. It’s a book of immense lyricism, a sense of place so powerful you can smell the earth and brine, and a group of characters who, though disturbing and sometimes shocking, are entirely believable. After reading Dirt Music I ordered several other books by Winton. They were all good – interesting – but not one of them, in my opinion, comes close to the power of this novel. As for the plot, allow me to quote from the blurb: “Set in the wild landscape of Western Australia, this is a novel about the odds of breaking with the past, a love story about people stifled by grief and regret, whose dreams are lost, whose hope have dried up.” It is also about the moments of wordless music that rise from the dust and give us hope.