Tim Winton pounces on his unsuspecting reader with gorgeous passages like this one:
They came home from the river one day to find Lester Lamb waiting for them on the bonnet of an ancient Rugby, dressed in his threadbare suit and gorgeously pleased with himself. He showed them the car. It was a dusty, black old banger with tyres smoother than a baby's bum and rust beneath the paint like a spreading cold sore. He showed them every angle, every virtue, including the side-blinds he's made himself from old X-rays which gave a curious effect of mortality to an afternoon drive: you saw the world through compound fractures, you saw the river in an old soldier's lungs, sky through the skulls of shellshocked corporals.
It's yours, he said, you need a car.
We need a car, said Quick.
But this is more than a car, said Rose, it's an experience.
Tim Winton. 1991. Cloudstreet. Viking. p 359.
I found this startlingly beautiful, the last thing I expected to hear and forever memorable. His imagination is sacred to me. How does he produce things like this?
Cloudstreet is so teeming, chockablock full of his insanely beautiful images. Having finished the book, I hold it now with reverence, unable to escape the feeling that I am holding something living, breathing and invaluable.
Please watch out for my concluding review of Cloudstreet!