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Cloudstreet

( 7 )

Overview

Hailed as a classic, Tim Winton's masterful family saga is both a paean to working-class Australians and an unflinching examination of the human heart's capacity for sorrow, joy, and endless gradations in between. An award-winning work, Cloudstreet exemplifies the brilliant ability of fiction to captivate and inspire.
Struggling to rebuild their lives after being touched by disaster, the Pickle family, who've inherited a big house called Cloudstreet in a suburb of Perth, take in...

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Overview

Hailed as a classic, Tim Winton's masterful family saga is both a paean to working-class Australians and an unflinching examination of the human heart's capacity for sorrow, joy, and endless gradations in between. An award-winning work, Cloudstreet exemplifies the brilliant ability of fiction to captivate and inspire.
Struggling to rebuild their lives after being touched by disaster, the Pickle family, who've inherited a big house called Cloudstreet in a suburb of Perth, take in the God-fearing Lambs as tenants. The Lambs have suffered their own catastrophes, and determined to survive, they open up a grocery on the ground floor. From 1944 to 1964, the shared experiences of the two overpopulated clans — running the gamut from drunkenness, adultery, and death to resurrection, marriage, and birth — bond them to each other and to the bustling, haunted house in ways no one could have anticipated.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
Carolyn See Los Angeles Times Book Review Winton is a one-man band of genius.

Andrew Yule Time Out Nothing short of magnificent...a wonderful read.

Elizabeth Ward The Washington Post Cloudstreet gets you inside the very skin of postwar working-class australians the way joyce makes you feel like a turn-of-the-century dubliner...people get up from where they have fallen, they try, they keep on. above all, they laugh at themselves, sometimes bitterly, but much more often riotously.

Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
``Luck don't change, love,'' observes Sam Pickles to his daughter Rose. ``It moves.'' Considerations of fate and love underlie Winton's ( Shallows ) wry novel, set in Western Australia, about two families thrown together in the years following WW II. Sam Pickles earns a modest living mining guano for nitrate until he loses his hand in an accident. Fortunately, the family inherits a rambling old house--the Cloudstreet of the title--in which they can live, although they still lack cash. The dilemma is resolved with the sudden arrival of the rigid, God-fearing Lamb family, whom the rather libertine Pickles take in as boarders. Following the quirky, deeply etched members of these families--``flamin whackos,'' in Quick Lamb's description--as they forge bonds and undergo travails, Winton explores the haphazard nature of human existence with a quietly focused ferocity. Featuring lyrical passages and rapid-fire, minimally punctuated dialogue, this satiric, affectionate family saga is tragic and hilarious--and often both at once. Winton shows himself a worthy successor to his countryman Martin Boyd, who portrayed the Anglo-Australian society of previous generations. (Apr.)
Library Journal
Australian Winton's fifth novel is chock-full, depicting birth, death, resurrection, marriage, miscarriage, gambling, drunkenness, adultery, anorexia, depression, love, and joy. From 1944 to 1964, the Pickles and Lamb families share a large house in a suburb of Perth on the wrong side of the tracks. The Pickles own the house and are slothful, he a gambler with long streaks of bad luck, she often drunk and adulterous. The tenant Lambs are hard-working. After the latter open a successful grocery on the first floor of the house, the families' lives become intertwined, and home and hearth become an anchor. World War II, Australian politics, the Cuban missle crisis, and Kennedy's assassination take a backseat to their trials and final joy. Biblical imagery, a talking pig, a house that cracks its knuckles, a son who glows in the dark, and a mysterious black ``guardian angel'' add spice to a book whose language resonates and charms. Highly recommended for most fiction collections. Previewed in Prepub Alert, LJ 1/92.-- Harold Augenbraum, Mercantile Lib., New York
Kirkus Reviews
This marvelous postmodern novel of family life by bestselling Australian writer Winton (Minimum of Two, That Eye, the Sky, etc.) celebrates all the great traditional values in writing that is emphatically contemporary. As Fish Lamb, whose nature and tragedy shape the story, prepares to return to the river he has yearned for ever since he was saved from drowning as a small boy, two families, the Lambs and the Pickleses, picnicking on the riverbank, are celebrating a momentous decision in their joint lives. The two families—who are working-class and scarred by past failures, and who for 20 years have shared the enormous old house that the Pickleses inherited on Cloud Street—have overcome daunting spiritual, moral, and physical adversities to reach this point. The Pickles family—Sam, who has lost the fingers of one hand in an accident; Dolly, who was abused as a child by her sisters; and their three children—have been adversely affected by Sam's belief in luck ("the shifty shadow of God"). The Lambs, whose religious faith was lost when Fish, after being saved from drowning, turned out to be retarded, are hard- working mystics determined to survive. The house itself, as much a metaphor as a setting, is haunted—and is the least credible part of the novel—by malevolent ghosts and by an Aborigine angel who appears serendipitously. The families fight, suffer, teeter on the edge of disaster, but love—young Rosa Pickles and Quick Lamb marry—and the will to endure bring them through. Fish, always sensitive to the dangers surrounding them over the years, is finally able to return to the river where he can savor the families' "healing all the rest of hisjourney." One of those rare novels that warm the heart, as well as spark the imagination.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780743234412
  • Publisher: Scribner
  • Publication date: 4/30/2002
  • Edition description: Reprint
  • Pages: 432
  • Sales rank: 203,643
  • Lexile: 880L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 5.10 (w) x 8.00 (h) x 0.90 (d)

Meet the Author

Tim Winton grew up on the coast of Western Australia, where he continues to live. He is the author of eighteen books. His epic novel Cloudstreet was adapted for the theater and has been performed around the world. His two most recent novels, Dirt Music and The Riders, were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has won the prestigious Miles Franklin Award three times, and in 1998 the Australian National Trust declared Winton a national living treasure. The Turning has already won the 2005 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction.

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4.5
( 7 )
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Sort by: Showing all of 7 Customer Reviews
  • Posted November 20, 2012

    One of the best Australian authors

    Tim Winton ,the author is designated as a National Treasure by the Australian government which gives you an indication of the kind of talent that wrote Cloud Street. The story is about two families the Lambs and the Pickles who end up sharing a large house in a small Australian town. You will be disgusted ; with Dolly Pickles when she gets drunk and cheats on Sam, disgusted with Sam Pickles when he looses the family’s money by gambling, sad when Rose Pickles tries to cope by starving herself, Fish Lambs boy hood tragedy, amazed by the Lambs work ethic and the strength of Oriel Lamb to hold both families together, and many other funny and heart breaking trials the family's face. This is a beautifully written book which I would highly recommend .

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  • Posted March 7, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    Rhythm of a Hymn

    This is a must read for all Australians. It is a powerful story which hits on every Australian note, making it great.

    Full Review; http://bookywooks.blogspot.com/2010/02/my-visit-to-abc-studios-part-2.html

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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