Friday, November 15

1 Cloud Street

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton is hailed as a modern classic and one of the most important Australian books of all times.  My Mum and I are reading it together, chapter by chapter, as a miniature-bookclub.  We tripped down to the library, giddy with anticipation, to collect the copies we had reserved online.  

We didn't read the blurb, didn't know what it was about.  We decided to come to the book with completely clean slates, no expectations.

The pages smell like tealeaves and the edges are just slightly mellowed.  The softness of the paper hints at the passing of many hands.

Cloudstreet.  The title is tipped with enchantment, like a breath of dewy air or the first kiss of waves on hot toes.  And the very first paragraph has etched this book into my soul as a masterpiece of story and language:

'Will you look at us by the river!  The whole restless mob of us on spread blankets in the dreamy briny sunshine skylarking and chinking about for one day, one clear, clean, sweet day in a good world in the midst of our living.  Yachts run before an unfelt gust with bag necked pelicans riding above them, the city their twitching backdrop, all blocks and points of mirror light down to the water's edge.'

Tim Winton.  1991.  Cloudstreet.  Viking.  p 1.

I swooned and sighed "thank goodness".  Falling forwards into the unknown, Tim Winton's words caught and carried me. 

It is so rich.  I want to lick my fingers after every sentence.  I need to wash sand off my ankles and wipe the sweat itching behind my ears.  Even now as I type this post with the book beside me, I can't stop looking at it to make sure that it exists.  It is a box of memory and experience that I open with a mixture of exhilarated fear and enraptured joy, unsure what will happen to me in the next page, the next chapter.

Expect to hear a lot of Cloudstreet this week.

1 comment:

  1. Yes, I so agree. What a treat 'Cloudstreet' is! I'm enjoying the words on each & every page.


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