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The Turning: New Stories

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Just the thought of a new Tim Winton must have every bookseller in the country rubbing their hands together with glee and ordering up big! (Bear in mind that, according to APA figures, Dirt Music sold over 100,000 copies in hardback alone.) Winton’s new book, The Turning, is an extraordinary collection of short stories linked by their locations and many of their characters. Set in the small coastal towns at the southern end of Western Australia, Winton gives his readers an incredibly sensual picture of Angelus and its neighbours. We can smell the cannery, taste the salt in the air and feel the desperation in the lives of its inhabitants. These are gems of short stories—each is brilliantly written, captivating and unique—and together they make a tapestry that will have you turning back to the first page as soon as you reach the end. The stories overlap so that you keep bumping into the same characters, sometimes in a supporting role, sometimes as the heroes. The boy you see on the beach with his legs broken becomes Boner McPharlin four stories later and a puzzle piece falls into place. In some of the stories you never learn the narrator’s name, and it is only as you look back lingeringly that you realise that, of course, this is part of your favourite character’s journey. I defy anyone to read The Turning and not want to immediately go back to the start and do it all over again. Part of the satisfaction in reading it again comes from the feeling of discovery as you make new connections between the stories. The Turning overflows with longing—some characters long to escape, others to connect with someone, and others long to return. There are dark and vicious episodes, stories that will break your heart, and others that will have you laughing out loud. This is master storytelling by one of our finest writers. As a collection of short stories it is magnificent, but it also transcends its form and makes a breathtakingly beautiful and challenging novel. In spite of the teetering pile of unread books by my bed, I have already gone back and read The Turning for a third time—just for the sheer joy of it. Katherine Lyall-Watson is coordinator of Brisbane’s Better Bookshops and a bookseller at Avid Reader C. 2004 Thorpe-Bowker and contributors

"A writer of crystalline, luminous prose...Winton's unbounded humanity and his sympathy for his characters descend on them like grace as they struggle to salvage their lives. To read him is to be reminded not just of the possibilities of fiction but of the human heart." -- "The Times," London

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