‘Breath’ – A Review
If you’re into the world of surfing then Tim Winton’s book ‘Breath’ is the one to get your hands on as a gift.
This past week I’ve been reading it – a deeply moving, powerful piece of writing which encompasses all those qualities which signify a writer who has mastered his craft. As someone who often struggles with the elusive art of writing but who comes back to it time and time again, I’ve been particularly interested in trying to unpack what makes a good writer.
As Philip Hensher from The Spectator notes, ‘Breath seems to cut through everything …,’ while Andrew Riemer from the Sydney Morning Herald expresses the view that Winton’s novel is bold, complex, evocative and poetic.
Tim Winton is a masterful craftsman through years of practice, honing his ability to combine those skills I have come to understand a good writer needs to tap into. He has published novels, short stories and non-fiction, as well as plays. I haven’t read all his works but I will from now on, especially after reading ‘Breath’.
I read somewhere once that one of the secrets of great writing is to write about the world you know best. If I think of the Brontes, Jane Austen and Patrick White, they base their narratives within the landscape they inhabit and the characters who live within this world.
Winton does the same. He grew up and lives on the rugged Western Australian coast where he still surfs and writes. He lives and breathes the ocean with ease and the uncanny ability to hold it close to the inner workings of his imagination and physical body. It’s as if he has listened to it, tasted it, held it, as well as breathed it.
I can take heart from the fact that, as Tim Winton shows, writing is an important act and worthy of attention. There is something brave and fearless in the act of writing, and to stay connected to other people who write and open their hearts to writing is a powerful choice.
I highly recommend this novel of great beauty to everyone out there.
Copyright Meg Mooney
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