Cloudstreet by Tim Winton


A scene from the television version of Cloudstreet.

Cloudstreet by Tim Winton is the best Australian novel I’ve read in several years. I preface that by saying I don’t read many Australian novels, having been disappointed in the past and wishing to “travel” through my reading.

That said, Winton’s Western Australian setting is unique enough for me to enjoy the experience and his writing is simply superb.

The book traces the fortunes and misfortunes of two rural families who move to the big smoke of Perth after different tragedies. Chronic gambler and loser Sam Pickles lost one hand in a boating accident, while the vivacious favorite son in the Lamb family, named Fish, became retarded after nearly drowning. The time setting is over two decades from 1945.

The relevance of the timeframe is that Sam inherited a large house in Perth, with a sensible covenant that he couldn’t sell it for 20 years. Everyone expected him to sell the house when the time came to cover his gambling debts.

The Pickles need money and rent out half the house to the Lambs. It’s literally split down the middle, including the back yard.

The Lambs are industrious and teetotal. The Pickles are mostly lazy and the mother, Dolly, is an alcoholic. The Lambs convert their front room into a general store and although they live poor, accumulate money and do well for themselves in their own eccentric way.

The families gradually become closer together over time. The marriage of Rose Pickles to Quick Lamb consolidates the union.

A strength of this novel is Winton’s clever development of characters and their sensitive portrayal, including the less desirable ones. Even the minor players have personalities that become likeable. The retarded boy, Fish, commands love as much as pity.

There is much humor. Sam’s philosophy in life is to believe in the “shifting shadow” of luck. He wins rarely and becomes resigned to handing over his salary from the Mint each week to the bookies. A pig given to the Lambs for Christmas fare becomes a pet and “talks” to Fish.

Part of the appeal of this book for me was the credibility of the characters; their language and idiosyncrasies. I saw some of my father’s family from the same era in both families.

Winton writes with a tight narrative, which always flows logically and in a captivating way that teases you into turning the next page.

His use of dreams and a cameo “Blackfella” confused me a little, but didn’t distract from the overall mood. I understood the imagery of a resident ghost in the house. She represented the spirit of the home, which was initially dark and gloomy. She disappeared when Rose and Quick created a window in the library and moved in with their baby Harry, thereby bringing the families together in love and happiness.

The cover of this book describes it as a “modern Australian classic”. I have to agree.

How do you rate Cloudstreet?

0 thoughts on “Cloudstreet by Tim Winton

  1. Megan

    This book was hopeless and a tragedy, no one likes it. Too bad for Tim winton, cuz it was a FAILURE!
    P.s i liked the pig

  2. kat

    ignore my friend, this book rox my sox and i think quick is extremely sexy and hot. the pig should be named WILBUR-BOBBY… yer

  3. James

    Tim Winton failed with this book, and now children all around Australia have to suffer by reading his book for a class novel.

  4. Cammo

    This is the most boring thing i have ever read its slow moving Bulls*#t which should be pushed right to the back of the book shelve

  5. reh

    Its a pretty lousy book, i mean he could have at least thought of some better names. the story is completely redundant for us poor senior school students, cos like sif thats gonna ever happen. what makes it soo good :S

  6. Stephen

    I’ve got this book for English too. I hated it, mostly because it lacked plot, and was more a study in character development. Winton spent 400 odd pages developing the characters with small and very unclimatic events and problems, and never gave a real point to it all. In all honesty, I’d say it isn’t even a novel – the lack of proper grammar, the free verse writing and the fact there wasn’t a unifying plot would lend it more to poetry. So it’s not a novel; it’s a long, bad poem.

  7. Jules

    i thought Cloudstreet was great! i had to read it for school but it was a great story that has lasted all this time and will be a classic! i thought Winton developed his main characters well and i was very satisfied with the ending. even though i found it hard to get into, by the end it was sad to finish, but he tied it up nicely and left me feeling content with what i’d read.
    ignore everyone else’s negativity, it’s fab! =)

  8. Gem

    Jules, I agree with you! Cloudstreet it great. Anyone who can’t see that has obviously completely missed the point. Lack of a unifying plot? One of the best things about Winton’s writing is the way he manages to unify the plot so beautifully. The house alone unifies the entire story, the fact that it was told in those seconds it took for fish to die, the recurrent themes – its a literary masterpiece and Tim Winton is a genius and anyone who can’t see that… well why don’t you just take your substandard IQ and stick to whatever trashy, mainstream shit you call writing and leave Cloudstreet alone!

  9. Lozzi

    Im reading this book for English too and i didnt mind the actual book but the fact that i have to study it makes me loathe it! I hate English so much and i cant wait till the HSC is over so i can never write another essay again!

  10. megan

    the more i read this book, the more i HATE it. it makes no sense and doesnt seem to have a proper meaning at all but rubbish. i dont know how people can read it more then once. my teacher is reading it to my class and its terrible, she just drags it on and makes it so much more painful to read. thank goodness its all over and i wont ever have to read it again

  11. Stephanie

    I absolutly hate this book! Maybe I will like it when I’m older but not right now. I was meant to read it for a yr 12 assignment analysing it with discourses, sympolisms etc and I am proud to say I have only read 1 chapter! lol It’s due 2morrow and it’s a speech so maybe i should stop typing this and read the book!!

  12. Scarlet

    I’ll admit that I haven’t finished reading the book, but I feel like I don’t have to. We have just finished studying it in class and because we hdid a detailed analysis of the pot I know what is going to happen, but I still want to read the ending.
    For those out there that feel the text lacked plot, that’s because you had to study it for english. I’m not saying that you would have looked at it on a shlef and said yeah I think I’ll read that, but you probably would have enjoyed it more that way. But I have also found that because I have studied the text I understand more fully what it is about.
    The reason the text has no speech marks is so that there is no distinction between the spiritual fish and what is actually happening, because it is all seen through the fish that isn’t really there. The lack of proper gramma is there to show that the families are from the working class and that they are aussie battlers with little or no education at all. if you seriously think about the australians in the 1940’s can you honestly say that you think they speak with proper english? making sure they pronounce every syllable correctly? we dont even do that now, and it is made very obvious when there is an aussie movie or actor/ress on our screens.
    Cloudstreet has more meaning once you have studied more than your own reading. when i first started reading cloudstreet i hated it, i would get migranes from trying to follow extremely bad english with the most cornist of things happening and the lack of anxiety/excitment when something major was happening nearly killed me. the crude language used by the characters and the way sex was talked about made me cringe. but once i had studied the language and the postcolonist readings i understood it more. once i had read a marxist reading and a gender based and a socio-political reading i undertsood the text even more.
    Tim Winton chose the time setting for a specific reason, it was the time that people around the world relate to australians. we are seen as people who have kangaroos and koalas running wild in a backyards with no modern technology and a very bad acent.
    if anything you need to read a postcolonial reading at least, it will explain some of the things that happen for you.

  13. Laura

    yeah, its not the most thrilling book in the world (especially once you’ve read it 3+ times) but i love it anyway cos of the way winton has you get to know the characters gets you to care about what happens to them- which, considering not much outta the ordinary happens, is a pretty impressive accomplishment. i think its a great book to study, all the metaphor, symbolism, biblical allusions etc really interested me and made me appreciate it more.

  14. Kelly

    i love this book its the best one ive had 2 read in lit this year i lov the way it combines fact an fiction like the use of real street names and fake ones and the pig speaking in tongues its jst so creative like where fish died but he half came back and the other half is watching over the rest of them. there is jst so much u can get out of it which is great for the essays! i agree with every1 how it ddnt build up alot of emotions but this book IS a masterpiece and tim winton ROCKS!!

  15. renae

    This an amsome book. I recommend anyone doing TEE English to read it as one of their example texts as it can be applied to lots of exam questions. But it is a great book my favourite character is Quick. Ten out of Ten.

  16. Kate

    i cant believe u uneducated idiots who read this book and then talked about the way u did. fair enough, u dont have to like it but to say that it was “hopeless” and “shit” is unbelievable. i too have to do it for english and yes it can get tedious cos any english book is but tim winton is truly a talented and amazing author who created an insightful and evocative novel.

    P.S saying u only “liked the pig” and that “quick was hot” really says something about your intellect. im guessing u didnt pass english and thats why ur pissed off…

  17. ange

    this book is great. it sux because we have to kill it by studying small irrelevant details and it therefore becomes tediously overdone. but try to block the study from your mind and appreciate the book for a damn good yarn.

  18. bill

    Yeh, i reckoned quick was really hot also;)
    The book was nice. The book’s tone quite clearly displays Tim Winton’s disgust towards the treatment of the indegienous people of Australia. The constant reference to water symbolises how the indegienous people of australia ‘flowed’ with the way they were treated. Tim Wintons uses cloudstreet as a vechile to position a reader to respond negatively towards colonial ideologies and prevailing ideas regarding race and colour.

    The use of iceblocks may have been effective in representing how the aboriginal people who inhabiated the swan river region were somewhat ‘frozen’ by the degredation they experienced.

  19. Miss Cecily

    I feel compelled to declare that the fact that literary critics like yourselves are able to label a character “hot” by merley reading the text has me truly amazed as to the true power of literature. You have never seen Quick and yet you know he’s “hot”. And how is that? Because Mr Winton himself has constructed a fictional environment which positions you to regard him as an admiarable character. A character who has experienced it all. A character who has been to hell and beyond. Oh, and he snagged the cute, slim and tanned; Miss Pickles, so we have to assume that he’s not too bad with the ladies.

    Personally, I’m going to be a bit provocative and say that the character i regard the most attractive is Lester Lamb. He’s got that true-blue Aussie spirit, experience on his back, a solid built Chev and how could one not devote their admiration in its entirety to him for putting up with that awful, bitch-face Oriel.

  20. Kate

    I agree with you Miss Cecily 100%…Finally someone with brains has added a viable and intelligent comment. Thankyou.

  21. Fishiness Abounds

    My dear Kate,

    Is it entirely fair of you to deduce whether or not people have brains merely by reading comments that they have made on a site that they must invariably have been looking for in the wee hours of the morning in a valiant attempt at making sense out of the surreal mysiticism to be found in the 20kg rock at the bottom of their bag that proclaims itself to be a novel named “Cloudstreet” ?

    True, certain others of us, (myself included, and I’m assuming my dear friend Kate is one of these) find Winton’s Cloudstreet to be a rather enlightening read, a quintessentially Australian text that deserves many of the plaudits it has received. It does however, have its flaws, though I wouldn’t consider myself so enlightened that I could ever say that Tim Winton deserves the “Biggest Try-hard award” or whatever other poppycock and nosense certain others on this site have vomitted up, in the true Aussie spirit of Tall Poppy Syndrome.

    Miss Cecily, I must agree most wholeheartedly with you. Lester Lamb is indeed one of the most attractive (or “hot” if you must) of the lot, though I should say that darling old Toby Raven gives him quite a run for his money, if not the other way round. And, to take another point of yours, he too had intimate relations with one Miss Rose Pickles, certifying that he must have been somewhat charming, if a little stupid.

  22. Fishiness Abounds

    I retract my statement about the wee hours of the morning. It turns out that most of this site’s users in fact, use this site at fairly convenient times. I still however maintain, that this is a valiant attempt at understanding what is, quite occasionally, a load of …..

  23. Kate

    Fishiness Abounds, you are in fact correct. This is merely a website people have come to in order to get some questions answered, thus they have not put in much effort in their comments. However, i still find some/many peoples comments some-what narrow minded, shallow, and just plain stupid. No hard feelings but thats the truth of the matter. Is it really that hard to think a LITTLE before writing a comment? I think not…

  24. Mr.Smile

    in response to Miss.Cecily’s comment…..i would just like to say: that

    “The chance of a piece of bread falling with the buttered side down is directly proportional to the price of the carpet”

    and how the fact….that someone who “you” do not know…..nor they know “you”…manages to agree with you so “whole heartedly” in an ironic way i have never experienced before…in my entire life….

    and how a “mysterious” Fishiness Abounds can make that same person….turn their head…..and walk the other way….”must be somewhat charming, if a little stupid”

    You must remember Miss.Cecily..that “Everyone has a scheme for getting rich…that WILL NOT work”…

    and…those, who many of you find “enlighteningly delicious” constructions of a novel….are nothing more…

  25. Mr. Frown

    As binary opposition would have it, what I am about to divulge is entirely opposed as to what Mr. Smile has said.
    First and foremost your excessive use of quotation marks is unnecessary if not somewhat offputting. Must you insist on making the obvious even more emphasised?
    Secondly to your first quote, I’m afraid that unless you’re using it purely for it’s moral worth that it is enitrely incorrect from a scientific point of view, although yes there is psychological evidence which supports it but we shall not go into that here.
    To your comments on how co-incidental the above posts all seem, why burst their bubble? I have no idea whether it was contrived or not but I believe that no one these days can be bothered to execute such a pointless exercise and hell, if they did, just go along with it like I am.
    Oh and finally, I believe Miss Cecilly does have a delicious scheme for atttaining riches…that WILL work. Apparently she’s into older men (why else would she appoint Lester the most attractive character?) and she’s milking it for all it’s worth. Touché and good evening.

  26. Miss Cecily

    Mr. Frown may i remind you that although your comments hold validity and are seemingly sprinkled with intelligence and subtle wit, this is indeed a site for those wishing to comment on one such text that starts with a ‘c’ and rhymes with ‘meet’.

    How about you follow the narrow minded, specutalive trend we have developed of commenting on the appearances of characters we have never seen and inform us as to who you believe is the most attractive cloudstreet female.

    And with regard to older men, do i even need to elaborate as to why Lester Lamb is by far the most appealing male.

    you see,

    Men are like leaves.
    As the Autumn of their lives approaches, their colors are brighter than ever before.

  27. Mr.Smile

    im just going to laugh…"Mr.Frown"… seems to find what i say extremely "bubble-bursting", and would not agree to its worth, although also decides copy the jist of my name…….i like it…..hahaha….

    Mr.Frown my friend….

    "Any tool dropped while repairing a car will roll underneath to the exact center"…..

    but then again… does depend what car your repairing does it not?? take for example Lesters Chev…

    and yes Mr.Frown….why dont you concentrate your time on informing us who you belive is the most attractive cloudstreet female….rather than wasting your time trying to reach that "left handed" hammer of yours that decided to magically roll to the Exact Centre of your "Scientific" brain….

    And Miss.Cecily; its not All men that are like leaves… some are like Poinsettia’s………there is something magical about them… that bloom through the darkest days of the year…..

  28. Kate

    You sound like a bunch of bored english teachers….get a life. It is nice to finally see some thought put into the comments but this is too much! It’s just a web-site so enough with the metaphors!

  29. Mr. Frown

    Oh it’s on now. Clearly the hottest chic is Dolly. Or maybe Rose. Or maybe both…at the same time. Nevermind that I think Kate is onto us, I better tell everyone in the faculty lounge to stop posting on this site.

    Also Kate, those are simile’s not metaphors. Maybe Mr. Smile could throw in some conciet and we’d have the whole collection.

    Something more relevant: does anyone agree with the statement “Cloudstreet is a radical text challenging our cultures myths”? At least this is far less narrow-minded then this talk of who’s the most attractive character, because clearly overall the pig takes it hands down.

    Finally, men are like neither of those things. In fact they have nothing to do with such vegetable nonsense, men… are BUFF (well some are). This traces back to the primedial days when testosterone ruled and such debates over who’s hot and who’s not was pathetic. Creatine v12 turbo, protein that makes you Buff. I’m excited.

  30. Miss Cecily

    I’d like to meet you Kate. I’ll bet my own treasured copy of Cloudstreet that you dress in black, live by routine and don’t have a boyfriend. Why else would you be so incomprehensibly pathetic as to visit a site merely to comment on other posts.

    And to reinforce the point made by Mr Frown, there is infact a distinct difference between a simile and a metaphor. If you had properley read Mr Smile’s post, which i know you didn’t, you would have observed his statement that implied that men are “LIKE” Poinsettias. I’m terribly sorry Kate but it seems you may need to revisit your year ten english journal, if you kept one at all that is.

    Mr Frown, i can’t say i agree with the statement that says “Cloudstreet is a radical text challenging our culture’s myths?”
    When you consider the truth of such a statement it really implies that Australian society and the society represented in the text differ somewhat. Either that or the society in the text is presented in such a way that we are positioned to see it differently than we previously did.
    Life isn’t that mirraculous that we can consider ourselves worlds away from the cloudstreet residents.

    We all know a Toby Raven, we all know a Sam and i know i have to look no further than my own mother to see a bit of Oriel. Too often people think that because a text is fiction, it’s sudenly a piece of “catch-me-if-you-can” material.

    Oh, and yes with regard to your idea’s on physical build Mr Frown i have to say that i think the biggest tragic element of the whole text is just that. The fact that the most potentially attrative character (Fish) was robbed of his ability to become buff!
    He could have been such a pin-up boy.

  31. sarah

    I’m amazed at how strongly people feel about this book! Well i just want to say that I enjoyed reading it, and for me analysing and discovering the deeper meanings of different texts encourages me to appreciate and enjoy them more!

    P.S. I don’t quite agree that Quick is “hot” eg “He was a fair skinned, melancholy boy, slim and a little cagey around the ribs…” page 137. Not to mention that he was a little slow…but who am i to judge! each to their own!!

  32. Mr. Frown

    Miss Cecily I must reprimand you for being so harsh towards others who are merely casually commenting on Cloudstreet. Not everyone is in possession of such an all-knowing intellect such as your own. In any case, we are here to educate, not decapitate.

    I notice another person shares the same view that Quick isn’t “hot”. To be honest I dont think any of the male characters can be regarded as attractive and if I was gay…which I most certainly am not, I’d go for none of them.

    Also, Mr. Smile, hammers dont roll. They tend to just stay where they are once dropped, but of course the same magic you talk of which allows hammers to roll into brains is also that very magic of whence your IQ comes from…that magical land of single digits. You should cut your losses on this board and publish a book of your seemingly endless quotes and title it: “1000 ways to kill brain cells”. I’ll endorse it.

  33. Miss. Cordelia Twat

    Mr Frown, for someone of your suggested erudition, you don’t seem to really understand that this site is about Cloudstreet – you know, that NOVEL ?…by that guy?…Tim Winton?…And, why my dear fellow, must you be such a patronising twat, with your snide comments levelled at such innocents as Mr Smile? On the other hand, I must join you in your reprimanding of one Miss Cecily. I must chide you, Miss Cecily, for being rather mean. Then again, Mr Frown is rather a presumptuous berk and I feel that it is best not to sink to his level.

    On the subject of the novel , and your question Mr Frown, I don’t think one can agree with the statement. Cloudstreet conforms to the cultural myths of the day. And Miss Cecily, you said that “it really implies that Australian society and the society represented in the text differ somewhat”.Not to be a nitpicker, but I was of the impression that the novel was in fact a representation of Australian society, and not one separate to it as your sentence suggests.

    On your other point, yes, Fish was most definitley hard done by. Ah, buffness….I would greatly appreciate it Mr Frown, if you would refrain from likening buffness or anything close to it to Creatine V12 Turbo again, or suggesting that you are, in any way “excited”. Its disturbing.

    Mr Smile, it is not entirely difficult to believe in someone’s ideas wholeheartedly even if one does not know them personally, which is what the “mysterious” Fishiness Abounds suggested, if one was astute enough to read properly. However, I fear that that is a talent belonging to people few and far between, and I sigh to think of it. I also sigh thinking of the attrociousness of your excessive quoting and your far too recursive “dot-dot-dots”.

    If I were male, or a female besieged with … certain… tendencies, I think I’d go for Dolly. Even if she pushes you down the stairs, who doesn’t want to go for “an arse like that”?.

  34. Fishiness Abounds

    Thank-you Miss Cordelia Twat. How can one with such an innocuous name as Mr Smile be such an annoyance?

    On a brighter note, does anyone else here think that Kate and Miss Cecily are one and the same?

  35. Mr. Frown

    Oh come on everyone, we all know this site is being used as an outlet for all of us to pass the piss. Miss Cordelia, I must assure that I certainly do understand that the very reason for all of us being here is because of Winton’s “Cloudstreet” but you must agree with me that it is much more entertaining to bag the person above you. Being presumptious comes with the territory darling, best to shoot first and ask questions later. Believe me, Mr. Smile is no innocent, he’s the reason why the lovely eyebrow endowed PM Howard had our nation be: “Alert, but not alarmed”. Besides, at least my remarks have no ill-intent, whereas that Miss Cecily is forever loaded with hidden menace.

    I dont mean to pick on you Miss Cordelia, but hypocrisy is obviously one of your better traits. You should try reading more astutely yourself, Miss Cecily mentioned that it was the QUESTION that implied that statement, not the novel itself. I would greatly appreciate it, Miss Cordelia, that you educate yourself more adequately on such noble arts as bodybuilding before you comment. Creatine San V12 Turbo is the “shit” that makes you “buff”. Period. Besides, what is wrong with being excited? Don’t tell me there is nothing out there which tickles your fancy? Floats your boat?

    On one point I must agree with, yes Dolly is by far the most attractive character. She is the “femme fatale”, and believe me it’s not just the arse.

    And no Fishiness Abounds, Miss Cecily is most definitely not Kate, she would not sink to such lows to demonstrate her superiority over others. For she is, after all, the resident “arse-kicker” of this site. I’m just here on vacation.

  36. Miss Cecily

    Thankyou so much Mr. Frown for your unconditional support. What an erudite fellow you are. Your careful observance of the mistakes of others has saved my dear, fragile fingers from having to type away prolifically at my keyboard in an attempt to caution the likes of Kate and Miss. Cordelia Twat to not jump into the lake without first testing the water for submerged objects.
    Oh, how silly of me, looks like i already did.

    To more pressing matters and i feel compelled to explore this idea of “the surreal”. Is it really appropriate to label the atmosphere of this text as bizarre and dreamlike or are we simply reading too much into it?
    Is the ending really too blissful?
    Is the storyline lacking plausibility?
    Is everything contained within the text just a little fantasy the pig had one afternoon?

    Am i posing far too many rhetorical questions or am i just attempting to construct and angry backlash against a certain comment made by a ‘not-to-be-named’ member of my English Literature class one boring, tedious afternoon that pointed to Cloudstreet being nothing more than a creation of “Hollywood”.

    Share your thoughts fellow chums as we criticise literature, each other and ourselves in the name of….well……in the name of art!.

  37. Miss. Cordelia Twat

    Miss Cecily, you disappoint me. Of all posts this site hosts I had firmly established in my mind that yours were in fact of the more cleverly, well written and of the more subtle persuasion. Instead you have chosen to side with a facial expression, merely because he called you the “resident ‘arse kicker'”, whilst he praises himself also , suggesting that he too is one of these “arse kickers”. Which in some ways he is, but really, his presumptuousness overrides everything else. Really Miss Cecily, I must ask you to revert to your original style of subtle and tactful menace as opposed to attempting overt intimidation tactics. The former had much more entertaining effect.

    And my dear fellow Mr Frown, I never said that there was something wrong with being excited ,so perhaps YOU should learn to read before criticising the comments I made for a much more understandable reason regarding a badly phrased sentence. In any case, I merely remarked that the thought of you being ‘excited’ disturbed me ,and I requested that you stop. If you are a gentleman, as your manner suggests, you would stop.

    Miss Cecily, what would your poor classmate think if she should happen to trawl through this site one day? Your tone suggests slight…animosity….Is there tension I see?..Perhaps I read too much into this. In any case, one can Never, ask too many rhetorical questions darling. One might even say, rhetorical questions are one of the many things that tickle my fancy, or, in Lehman’s terms, “float my boat”.

    In response to your wonderful questions;I do not believe the ending is a completely perfect,blissful ending. The only pure character dies and goes to The Big Country, as opposed to staying on earth and preaching to the masses, because as we all know, Fish is the New Age Messiah. Of course the story line lacks plausibility; it’s by Tim Winton. Have you read “The Bugalugs Bum Thief”? Great story, but honest-to-goodness absolute nonsensicality, much like everyone who comments on this site, myself included.

    On another issue, I believe you may be quite right. It IS all just the Pentecostal Pig’s fanciful afternoon daydream and the Pickles and the Lambs are in fact a rather functional family who live somewhere in a rather functional Hollywood. I must say though, your class-mate must have some extremely convoluted ideas of Hollywood, if they believe that Hollywood is blissful.
    Hollywood, Cloudstreet is not. Dysfunctionally content, it is.

    Miss Cecily, an English Literature class, “boring and tedious” ? Why, Never !!! How could one so hopelessly devoted to the Arts speak such profanity?! It dirth not become you.

    Yours in the Arts.

    Miss C. Twat.

  38. Mr.Smile

    An English literature class taught me to criticise . The same class which Miss.Cecily may find boring, and in which Miss.Twat finds an art. And the same class, which Mr.Frown seems never to have studied from.

    “Some things are written to be read. Not written to be re-written by someone else, trying to explain what they mean, or what you think they mean.” Saad ‘05

    So lets begin the games:

    “nonsensicality” is not a REAL word Miss. Twat.

    “Creatine V12 Turbo”…only makes you fat….DNF is the real deal….even though it has the potential of killing you Mr. Frown.

    Asking “what tickles your fancy? Floats your boat?” is not an appropriate question here Mr.Frown, please find somewhere else to do it.

    A “rhetorical question” does not imply the sudden urge for someone to answer…try using “imperative” or “fundamental” Miss. Cecily.

    The subtle yet devotionally “long worded” way of asking someone to “take your side” Miss. Twat, does not make much of difference, if you had just asked to do so.

    Fishiness seems to believe my name does not fit my character, why thankyou for your critical analysis…………….of me.

    I believe its not the “arse”, but it’s the “heart in someone”…that makes them a lot more attractive, Miss. Twat, and Mr. Frown.

    I am publishing a book Mr. Frown, maybe ill send you a copy, and then… can critique it here….

    Kate….I don’t think you “dress in black, live by routine, and don’t have a boyfriend”………make yourself clear Kate, show us who you really are……do a little dance perhaps…

    Sarah, living in the western world, and according to statistics, you have a 73.2% chance of falling in love with a someone who is “a fair skinned, melancholy boy, slim and a little cagey around the ribs…” so…..rather than judge his appearance, judge his aching heart, the heart which throbs every time it sees his brother, knowing it was he, himself, who stood on the net……

    Hollywood, is a place where more than 95% of people learn their values Miss. Twat. Literature on the other hand is only read by 15% of the “educated” state.

    A vacation can be sometimes be enjoyed more by the people whose “IQ comes from…that magical land of single digits” than those who believe themselves to be superior than the person who comes to mow-their-lawn.

    And Miss. Cecily: “Catch me if you can” is a TERRIFIC movie.

    Haha. Sorry guys. I just had to say all that. I must stress…..i say these with no ill intent.

    On the aspect of literature though, is it possible to label Lester as an “emotional man”?? or “the traditional female of the 1940s/1960s?? and contrastingly his wife, as the “Woman Man”….or the “Woman King”….?? I seem to think these characters are representing the traditional portraits of gender stereotypes of that time, yet only “flipped” around. Like: Lester as the traditional female, and Oriel as the feminine patriarchal figure….does this seem to strike anyone as a piece of viable critique to Wintons Cloudstreet, which everyone seems to be forgetting here…….

  39. William Scholl

    The following is an essay that I presented to my class after we were told to give an oral presentation about the novel:

    Cloudstreet – A Waste of Time

    What makes a collection of words a novel? I can tell you what doesn’t. Cloudstreet is one of those “wanna-be-novels.” One of those “books” that does not mean anything. Sure, the writing style may incorporate traits that would deceive us into thinking that Cloudstreet is more than just the dull ramblings of an unhappy, misunderstood man. But that does not mean that it is worthy to be considered a novel. A novel must be more than words. It should be the perfect concoction of plot, characters, and writing style. If there is an overabundance of one ingredient, and a lack of another, the book is destined to failure. Not complete and utter, I am sure that someone will find it in their deepest sympathies to promote this book as something other than a shortcoming, but it will only serve to be placed in the “unused” section of your library, to be covered in dust and never read again. I have never been more blinded by disgust since I first discovered that piñatas weren’t really live animals.

    The absence of a gripping plot was, I think, Winton’s biggest mistake. Sure, anyone can have the necessary schooling to write with metaphors and images, but it takes imagination and a whole lot of commitment to write a book with a plot that counts. You could almost compare sections of his book to a child’s storybook. Where else are you going to find the personification of barn-yard animals? The plot of Cloudstreet is almost nonexistent. Did not anyone stop to wonder why Cloudstreet never won any bestsellers awards? It’s because, simply put, the book was the most tedious piece of material I have ever encountered. If you would look into people’s comments about the book, you will see that I am not the only one who believes this. I love to read, and I find many books to my liking, but reading Cloudstreet made me contemplate suicide. The families are not that badly off, and yet from these “catastrophes” we conclude that they are living an oppressive, irredeemable life. People should not attempt to write about people badly off until they have seen it for themselves. The hypocrisy of Winton in describing the Lambs and Pickles as badly off is a blatant insult to the poverty and despair found in many parts of the world.

    It is rather nice that Winton made such an abundance of characters, pity that they are no more interesting than a ball of lint. A pile of rocks would be more entertaining. All of his characters have partial personalities, much like the French. He spends the first half of the book trying to establish solid characters, and fails. If you compare his characters to one in, say, a Stephen King novel, you will see a vast difference in quality. When creating a character for a book, no matter the type, you always need to be able to see the character. You need to be able to recognize the character as someone who could be real. The characters are of vast importance to the success of the novel, but even though the characters are shallow, Winton still manages a certain degree of intelligence as his characters have been known, on occasion, to say something that makes sense in today’s cluttered world.

    Winton’s writing style is about the one thing that he did well. Although slightly unorthodox, his writing style creates a vivid image of the thought he is attempting to convey. I though it was quite clever how even the structure of the dialogue can be used as foreshadowing, and it is rather refreshing to find an author who believes that analogies do not have to be used perpetually in order to create enrapturing images. True, his words are not taken very well by the youth of the audience, but I think that of this entire book, the writing style is the only thing that atones for all the books faults.

    This book was amazing. Amazing for the fact that I would rather drink acid than read it again. I, honestly, have never encountered a book that I actually regretted reading, until I read this. Sure, there are several redeeming features, but none could possibly counter the failure of the writer. Cloudstreet sucked.

  40. Nutter

    Don’t worry, the following message does not make any positive or negative connotations to anyone except those who have so dim-wittedly provoked such comments.
    Firstly to the “wanna-be-novel” theolurgans, unless you have actually written a book i would caution you against making such comment as to suggest this book was “plotless”. Books, the last time i checked, are written by a strange species known as the human – although rumours have been circulating, they are NOT, i repeat NOt, written by robots/machines. I also haven’t seen a checklist on how to write a book either.
    So what exactly is a plot? For those of you who don’t know that is…
    In literary criticism, this term refers to the pattern of events in a narrative or drama. In its simplest sense, the plot guides the author in composing the work and helps the reader follow the work. Typically, plots exhibit causality and unity and have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Sometimes, however, a plot may consist of a series of disconnected events, in which case it is known as an “episodic plot.”
    – this definition can be found on google search – all you have to do is type in define + plot
    Therefore, I conclude that the book did have a plot and even if this plot did not meet your expectations it does exist.
    I found the book to be filled with symbolic, sociological and ethereal content. It engaged my attention and demanded questioning. Good literature doesn’t read like an auto-script, it challenges the reader – delves into their value system. If you want mass manufactured magazine books, i suggest you take your expectations somewhere else. As far as i’m concerned, this being the opinion of a student mind you, Tim Winton is the type of writer that Australia needs more of. It’s not a story you could find re-published in another country, it is unique Australian prose.
    There are some faults i admit, sometimes the spiritual influence is a little too much.
    Mr. Smile, although i do agree with your gender role comments to an extent, i have found that these characters should not be dismissed as Winton’s own originality or re-arrangement. In fact, i believe that i may be somewhat related to Lester and Oriel.
    For those who take the attitude that Cloudstreet was a failure, if you have not already gathered that i disagree with this belief – i reiterate the point once more. If Cloudstreet failed you, maybe you should get some more life-experience and read it when you’re able to be challenge and aren’t being force-fed.

  41. Nutter

    Sorry, forgot to raise the point of the sociological references etc. that i found in the book. Did anyone else notice how Cloudstreet can be seen as a rebellion against the nuclear family trend occuring at the time? This struggle is also represented in Rose’s dream home in the suburbs.
    I also wanted to discuss the characters, if any of you actually discuss anything else other than the respective egos behind these cultured comments . . .

  42. Nutter

    I also apologise to anyone who is offended by my night-owl tendencies but some people do have day time lives – not that i count myself as one of them, just letting you know . . .

  43. Miss Cecily

    Mr. Smile

    Please carefully observe the following.
    I am going to, out of the kindness of my heart; illustrate exactly how you have cleverly constructed your own tragedy.

    First let me define the word

    Tragedy: the downfall of a noble protagonist due to fault of his or her own.

    You have successfully wasted sixteen mouse clicks of this page telling other writers how they are inferior to your superb intelligence, skills of analysis and unmatchable moral standards.

    The only thing i feel i can possibly give you credit for is the way in which you have put so much thought into the layout of your post by dedicating a sentence to each person you wish to criticise. Thank you so much for leaving spaces in between your verbal jibberish in order that we find it just that bit more comprehensible.

    I must inform you, i am completely aware of my hypocritical nature in detesting the content of your post but i feel compelled to do all in my power to stop such incidents occurring in the future.

    You Mr. Smile are indeed a man of many words but perhaps you should deliver to us one wheelbarrow of gold instead of one hundred filled with dry leaves.

    Be careful what you say Sir Smile, one day you’ll start to frown.

    Deepest Apologies to all those visiting this site with the intention of reading about the likes of the Street in the Clouds, however, the line has to be drawn. I hope the chalk i used was dark enough.

    “Haha…I just had to say all that. I must stress…..i say this with no ill intent”.

    Yours with a sharpened dagger (metaphorically)
    Miss Cecily

  44. Lobster

    Life……you guys must love wasting it.

    The radiation generated by your computer monitors doesnt provide a healthy substitute for sunlight.

  45. Nutter

    Thank you Miss Cecily for your beautiful display of hypocrasy, your witty one-liners, your re-hashed metaphors and any other so-called “intelligent” content you have contributed to this site. I say thank you because the above display has served to rally my spirits through the best medicine of them all – laughter. Also, the last time i checked, this was an actual discussion about Cloudstreet, not a discussion about egotistical “intelligent” people.
    None of these cultured comments or witty rebukes could possibly stand behind the simplicity of Winton’s work and win. I rest my case.

  46. Nutter

    Another note: if people are to be criticized for labelling characters in the book “hot”, this criticizm is wrongly directed. Why not blame Australian society which seems to be morphing into mini-America or better still, Winton himself. He wrote just as simply as these people and look where that got him, quite far actually. I reiterate the point: no witty remark is valued as much as the simple language of Cloudstreet.

  47. Mr.Smile

    Maybe if people learned to read the gaps in between the lines of what i wrote Miss.Cecily, they wouldnt need to frown themselves.

    Nor cause me to frown.

    forgive me if anyone else took my comments parrallel to Miss.Cecily’s “one-mided” manner.

  48. Mr. Frown

    There have been several misunderstandings and inconsistencies that have lead to unneccessary comments from a few of the critics here. Obviously as Nutter has pointed out that this site has turned into a bit of a bloodbath. But why join into a fight that is not yours? I am not going to assume anything, but I believe Miss Cecily was addressing Mr. Smile and no one else. Quite clearly then we can conclude that the subject matter of her post would have little to do with Cloudstreet, as were the dozen or so posts above it made by many of us, myself included. In no way did she, or any of us, attempt to compare our literary skills with that of Winton’s but it seems it was imperative for you to draw that connection. I need not remind anyone that all the posts and comments are of his or her own opinion; so whilst I take into consideration your opinion that Winton’s work is far superior to any of the remarks made here and I will say that I must agree to some extent (I certainly could not write a novel or anything close to it), you must also agree that the aobve discussion had nothing to do with who’s work is better than who’s. In a nutshell: your own lines, sarcastic or otherwise, may hold value but are irrelevant. This is war and I believe you were neutral, unless your going to take sides.

    Mr. Smile, read carefuly before you make your replies. Although I regard your short and sweet responses as I nice tactful way of avoiding the argument they leave much to be desired. I am most curious about your first statement. Would you care to elaborate? As far as I’m concerned the only meaning I derive from reading between “the lines” of what you wrote earlier is that there is an arragont streak in your writing. So what are you trying to portray between the lines? You are also quite the strategist Mr. Smile. That last line of yours was a clever ploy to gain the support of the rest of the posters on this site: “forgive me if anyone else took my comments…”. If everyone said that after making a statement that was critical of others the words “forgiven” and “sorry” would lose their meanings. In any case, you have only shown your weakness. Sucking up to others is not going to help you.

    Oh of course by the way, FORGIVE ME FOR BEING MEAN I NEED HELP TOO. What a laugh up Mr. Smile, a laugh up.

    Now, time to get out and see for myself what this amazing sunlight is that Lobster speaks of.

  49. Nutter

    Mr. Frown
    A slight misunderstanding has taken place, although i did indeed make remark about how well any attempt at comment on this site compares to the work of Winton, i had no intention at taking sides in this war of words. I admit fault, however, the point i had been meaning to make was the obvious hypocrasy of commentators on this site. I admit that a scapegoat was made of Miss Cecily, not due to any personal bias (an almost impossible reality in this sunless world) but merely due to the fact that she was the nearest example i could find. The comment that the discussion was nothing to do with comparing these comments with Winton’s work i find slightly faulty. This is because the current war – Word War I, uses ammunition directly concerned with writing ability and i merely meant to display the futility of such a war (being a self professed peace activist). Before i am accused of aspiring to higher moral standards than anyone else, i wish to say that my aversion to war may actually be due to cowardice.

  50. Anthony

    I found Cloudstreet to be an extremely emotional book, based on the self-exploration of the various characters. It was a change from what I usually read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. I appreciated the descriptive talent showed by Tim Winton and wish that there where a page that helped with the analysis of the book for high school essays, it would make life easier.

  51. Nutter

    I know what you mean Anthony, i had to do a couple of essays for Cloudstreet and one was for an exam. I looked and looked but all i could find was this site. It is a really complex book and there are so many ways of interpretting it. I found there were a lot of details, i hardly even noticed the name meanings until it was brought up by our teacher but once you get started you usually keep finding new things. All i can say is good luck and if you want any help ask someone here.

  52. Mr.Smile

    Its the art of communication, that can heal all wounds. or: It is the filling of communication gaps that mends the broken furniture…

    things go on in this world that many people do not realise. or, more correctly, “others” do not realise. and, the fake smiles that most people wear, can be quite decieving…

    but, when, you find out, that the smile, that you thought was illusory, was just your mind playing tricks on you…..a feeling takes over you….

    the same feeling….that you feel, when the Rose Blooming Season begins….

    As it just did.

    Note: 6.49pm Sunday 7th August 2005 – Tiny Rose Blooming Season Begins.

  53. Elogantbeast

    Mr smile could you please refrain from polluting this site with your emotional garbage. You seem to have alot of time on your hands, so why dont you do us all a favour and find a thread along the lines of ‘sooky jibberish for try hard people who think theyre quirky’?

    Now, back to the reason i came to this site, Cloudstreet. Is it just me or do you guys find it hard to pinpoint the generic elements working throughout the text (other then characterization)?

  54. Miss. Cordelia Twat

    My my, “Elogantbeast”, that was completely uncalled for. Mr Smile neither meant you, nor anyone else any harm, or so I believe. Whilst many of us on this site have been fairly subtle with our jibes and barbs, I believe your outright dismissal of Mr Smile was slightly unnecessary. However, if he feels that this is quite alright, then I have no problem also.

    And it is just you, I don’t think any of “these guys” find it hard to “pinpoint the generic elements working throughout the text other than characterisation”. Perhaps they just choose not to talk about it. Can you, “pinpoint” these “generic elements”? And if the last comment of your post was not meant to be a nasty comment and rather, was a point that you wished to be discussed, please accept that I did not mean the last two sentences of this post.

    On another note: POLYPHONIC NARRATIVE.

    There’s a generic technique. Have I astounded you all with my Literary Genius ? (which I am told, is not signified undoubtedly by my Alliterative Abillity, which is a tremendously top-notch talent, if I do say so myself ).

    Polyphonic narrative enhances the reading experience, as the reader is enabled to See All. Just like God. (or Fish/Pig, the New Age Messiah). Poplyphonic narrative gives you voices;there is no objective truth, there is no subjective truth. There are only the things that are said. The post-modernist approach.

    Mr Smile; “Nonsensicality”, is a word.

    Yours in the Arts,

    Miss C. Twat

    (Please note, Miss Cordelia Twat may actually choose to make sense/talk about the text next time, when she is well, and suffers not from a Serious Cold.)

    (Also,Miss C. Twat wonders, is “Elogantbeast” meant to be ” Elegant Beast” ? She has no inkling to be rude, she asks out of curiosity.)

  55. Kate

    The pig is a joke. Or so I’ve heard through the grape vine.

    And as for the rest of you:
    Whoever you people are, just STOP IT. GET LOST!! Whoever, from Miss Cecily, to Mr Frown to Miss Cordelia Twat just give up, and stop being such bloody try hards.
    You’re not funny if thats what you’re trying to do, and i and everyone else who uses this site would appreciate some actual insights into the text. You all seem smart enough and if you could try and use your brains for something productive and help some of us lesser brained ones it would be great. Miss Cordelia Twat thanks for the tip on the polyphonic narrative.

  56. Anthony

    From what I have read about the pig, it seems to be the only being that can communicate with fish. The emotional attachment fish feels towards the pig is that of a friendship he is denied by his disability. I haven’t read the whole book so id be happy if my views weren’t criticized.

  57. Nutter

    I interpretted the pig to be interconnected with the faith of the Lambs. The Lambs lose their faith in God when Fish is taken and i think in some ways, the pig comes to represent the mysterious nature of God. To back this up is a conversation between Lester and Fish when the pig first arrives at Cloudstreet:
    ‘The pig snuffles, lets off a few syllables: aka sembon itwa.
    It’s tongues, that’s what it is. A blasted pentecostal pig.
    And you understand him?
    Yep. i likes him.
    Always the miracles you don’t need. It’s not a simple world, Fish It’s not.’
    I agree Anthony, there is a friendship of sorts between the two. It is also connected to the spirituality of the book; the aboriginal ma, the house, the river and the pig are often grouped together.

  58. Nutter

    Where exactly are you up to in the book Anthony? Don’t want to spoil your interpretation of Oriel’s tent stay but you will learn eventually

  59. Anthony

    Thank you for that Nutter, I never saw it that way. I always thought that the faith of the Lamb family was constantly rekindled by Oriel. I am keen to discover what she i doing in that tent of hers. I see now how the lake, the pig and the aboriginal man are connected thay are the reasons for the two families to stay together and continue on at Cloudstreet.

  60. Mr. Frown

    If you wanted help all you needed is to ask then have some patience Kate. There is no need to be so hostile, none of this was directed towards you except for a few misguided comments. So, to be productive and less of a “bloody tryhard” lets get on to this question about the pig.

    Indded what you said is correct from a contextual point of view. Our beloved pink friend is indeed a humorous invention of Winton’s. The man himself said that he had no idea why the pig was constructed and that it was merely included out of boredom. However the keener analysts of literature will realise that whether or not the pig was intentional, it is still a creation of the composer. Now let us not get bogged down with the rather semantic discussion of whether it is the “text” or the “composer/writer/author” which governs the constructions of characters (human or not) the important thing to note is how we respond. So essentially the question should not be what the pig means, but what it means to you. So fellow critics search into the depths of your primedal context and discover how the implementation of a farm animal in the text affects yourself.

    Having a knowledge of Winton’s context is of great aid here if you are looking into the spiritual notions conveyed in the text. This article should be of great help if thats what you are after:

    Yes, I love the post-modernist approach, you’re never wrong!

    Oh and Mr Smile, that is emotional garbage. Perhaps you should become a garbologist.

  61. Michael

    If Winton introduced the pig as a joke, then it quite literally can mean anything the reader wants it to mean.

    We probably don’t want to get into Dan Brown territory here, but symbols are important. A fish is a significant Christian symbol.

    Pigs are generally ignoble in symbolism. St Anthony, however, presented a good pig to show victory over gluttony. A pig also symbolises good luck, thriftiness and savings.

    In the Gospels, a curious story is told in which Christ allows the many demons he casts out of two men to enter a herd of Gadarene swine. The demons promptly caused the whole herd to run “violently down the steep place into the sea” in which they drowned.

    Perhaps Winton is just playing with our minds?

  62. Miss Cecily

    Why oh why my friends does the pig have to “mean” something?

    If you walked into a suburban Perth backyard and saw a pig down in the weeds, snorting to itself and snacking on old pieces of corn, would you stand there pondering it as a symbolic construct? Of course not, but please, if any one would do or has done that, tell us all. It would be extremely intriguing.

    Less is sometimes more. Perhaps the pig means absolutely nothing. If this is indeed the case, which i suspect strongly it is, then such a notion accurately parallels the proposed overall crux of the text. The characters of Cloudstreet don’t follow a set path. Fate and destiny aren’t controlled. Things ‘just happen’.
    What works as a driving force behind the text and develops it as such a highly credible and thus widely accessible novel is the fact things don’t, can’t and won’t make sense.

    If everything had meaning, symbolically represented something else and was simple enough to articulate properly in an English Literature essay… would be more boring than listening to John Howard ramble on about taxation.

    Winton himself even said
    “Events just unwind, moving here, moving there, without logic”

    The pig is a pig

  63. Mr.Smile

    if a pig is a pig.
    then a pen is a pen.
    hence, a book is a book.
    consequently, a heart is a heart.

    this could almost be considered as a mathematical formulae, proven through words rather than numbers.

    Fermats last theorem puzzled the greatest of minds from the early 1800s, until it was finally solved in 1993.

    does it matter what he proved? or wrote about? or concluded??

    to me. no.

    to you. maybe.

    to me. no.

    it was not his theorem, which made him important. It was his act. What he wrote in the margin. It was in his margin that he wrote, the words which no-one could understand…but could not possibly shake the feeling, that he had gained a piece of knowledge that made him happier in life, and they were left in this world without….

    It was his actions that provided him the symbolical status as a great mathematician. Not his work.

    No-one even got to see it.

    Similarly, the pig. Everyone seems to be forgetting, that its not the pig that is important. It is what he does, and says. It is his actions. Its what he thinks.

    Parallel to Miss.Cecily, to me, the pig is a pig. Period.

    But that fact that he speaks to the certain few in the text, and not to others, is what matters. Fish being one of those he talks to , and Oriel being one of those he doesn’t.

    Concentrate on that.

    I think everyone here needs is the “obvious”.

    That’s what all of you need. The “obvious”.

  64. Michael

    If Winton isn’t messing with our minds it’s probably right to say the pig is just a pig. I wonder why he used a pig though, and not a cow, rabbit, sheep, or something else?

  65. Nutter

    Miss Cecily,
    Who exactly are you to say the pig means nothing? Yes to you the pig can be simply the pig. Period. To me however, the pig has a meaning and i think that before you project your interpretation this note is necessary. The beauty of literature is that the reader gives the words, characters and environment a meaning. The reader makes the book into a success by allowing themselves to be challenged by the text. What separates Winton’s work from the work of a magazine, is that Winton’s work is so much more than a story.
    Another note: Mr. Smile, although the pig doesn’t have to have a meaning, you can’t block free thought.

  66. Mr. Frown

    Once again we have proven the fact that humans are like sheep. We follow. This discussion over the pig I believe has run its length and what has said will suffice, but perhaps a few more cultured comments wouldn’t hurt. Firstly, once again I must stress as a reader whatever meanings you derive from the pig is completely subjective and therefore your own. So Nutter, by saying: “Miss Cecily, Who exactly are you to say the pig means nothing?” I could turn it right back on you and ask you along the same lines, why must you say the pig has meaning? Of course opinion will vary from person to person and you will all have your pretty little arguments to back it up with but at the end of the day, nothing will be proven. Much like Fermat’s last theorem it will take several decades if not forever to prove. By the way Mr Smile, Fermat’s last theorem was written in 1630 along with the famous margin note: “I have discovered a truly remarkable proof which this margin is too small to contain.” which appears to hold so much meaning to you, as it does me. However, the theorem was not proved in 1993, only for n values up to 4,000,000 by using the fact that the counter-example of Fermat’s Last Theorem would provide the counter-example of the Shimura-Taniyama-Weil Conjecture. It was not until 1994 that a more confident proof was put forward by Wiles which gapped the holes in the calculation of the upper bound for the Selmer group in the case of semisquares. But I digress…

    Also Nutter, I’d just like to say that not all books are successes because they are able to challenge a reader, you are over generalising there. Unless of course you are talking about Cloudstreet in particular.

    Prudence, the pig did not speak to anyone besides Fish and if you want to talk about the specific case of Oriel, note the similarity as to why Fish can’t recognise her.

    Anyway, lets leave the pig and talk about something else…like Fermat’s Last Theorem! Only if everyone doesn’t mind though, for it is much more interesting then the pig. But if we must, we can continue with the street in the clouds.

  67. Nutter

    Mr. Frown,
    Yes i agree it was rather hypocritical for me to infer the pig had a meaning in the words that i used. What i meant to express was that meaning is relative, to you christmas dinner to me valued friend (we are talking about a pig). What i mean to say is that if nothing was examined life would be just as boring as Miss Cecily claims it would if everything was examined. Perhaps my general meaning is best summed up in this quote:

    “An unexamined life is not worth living.”
    — Socrates

    A note on my comments – they were personal opinion, that is to say I personally believe that a book is successful because it challenges the reader. Not necessarily going beyond what you know but often delving into your memories – digging up old bones.

    Also, you say you want more “cultured comments” but you then go on to criticize our “pretty little arguments”. There is, I believe, a hypocrite in all of us.

    Now i finish with something completely unrelated to Fermat’s Last Theorem,

    “Outside of a dog, a book is a man’s best friend. Inside of a dog, it is too dark to read.”
    — Groucho Marx

  68. James

    Um…was just wondering what y’all reckon the point of the Nedlands Monster is. Is it just to ground the text in reality or is there something more?

  69. Nutter

    I think the Nedlands Monster represents the dawn of a new era. Toby Raven refers to Perth as the world’s biggest country town trying to be a city and until the Nedlands Monster first appeared that was the feel that i had for Perth. People sleep on little verandas and leave doors unlocked but now, these kinds of conditions no longer seem safe. To me, the Nedlands Monster represents a new time, where you can no longer trust the person you meet on the street.
    The Nedlands Monster also plays a significant role in the lives of the characters, particularly as a wake-up call for Rose as to how important Cloudstreet really is and to Quick who has so far not properly grieved the loss of Fish as he knew him.

  70. katie

    i thought the nedlands monster was put in to make us aware of oriels point that the ‘monster’ is just like all of us…everyone thinks he’s different when in actual fact its a result of his past that turns him into the person he is. Also its an important historical moment as this was a time when alot of freedom was lost in perth as from then on people locked there dorrs and no one felt completely safe.
    are the girls that come to stay in the house at the very start aboriginals? just want to know becuase it might mean something about reconciliation

  71. Nutter

    Yes, he is put in to make us aware of that point but it has more connection with Quick because he goes from hating the monster to having a type of sympathy when the boy dies. Oriel’s part is a minor one. Yes the house was for aboriginal girls.

  72. katie

    also i dont quite understand what the book is how i could say that in a sentence…working on an intro

  73. Nutter

    Essay huh? I have one to do too. It is a really complex book, not only because of the many characters but also because it spans over such a long amount of time. Do you have to write about the book as a whole or just a particular theme from the book?

  74. katie

    well we have to do an inclass one soon..over the whole book.we’ve already had 4 lessons on it and all we did was get into a debate about reconciliation and what we as individuals define as forgiveness.i understand the themes and that i love the book and it celebrates life and all its hardships and yada yada but talking about the whole book in one essay seems like the impossible…..

  75. William Scholl

    Ever since I first encountered this site (Aug. 5th, You may recall an essay written by me: “Cloudstreet – A Waste of Time”) I have been intrigued by the characters who devote their time and energy to voice their opinions on a regular basis… It has come to my attention that many of these people may indeed be completely absent from any form of social, or sex, life. My main concern is a certain “Nutter” who may in fact be lacking in the reproductive organs and people skills necessary to comply with social norms and participate in such acts as procreation… I ask you, for the good of mankind, never reproduce… And to your comment about my lack of “life-experience”… I will tell you now that the course of my life has led me to see things that you could not possibly comprehend… I am 17 years old, and yet I have experienced things that the great majority of people will never, in their entire lives, possibly begin to imagine… I have lived in places exhibiting poverty levels that would make the Pickles family seem very well off indeed… I have encountered true loss and suffering that make any of the events of this so-called “Novel” seem as unnoticeable as a cubic centimeter of driftwood floating in the great vastness of the Pacific…
    The reason I find this book so dull is because no event on paper could not even begin to compete with the one true adventure; Life…

  76. Nutter

    William Scholl,
    If you think that your pity me/respect my superior life experience message will serve as a silencer for me then you are sadly mistaken. I refuse to conform to your little book of social norms and to become like the rest of the flock, you see, if everyone did what you do the world would most likely be a worse place. What, for example, would happen to the liberty of free speech?

    I too have seen many things and i find it highly disappointing that someone with such a vast amount of life experience would even consider taking such a narrow minded veiwpoint. I too will be turning 17 this year, I have actually lived in conditions bordering poverty, that you should assume that you are the only person that has seen or experienced anything is simply disgraceful.

    The reason i did not mention the above references to my background to anyone on this site who had veiws that i failed to agree with, is that i find it highly manipulative and also displaying a somewhat passive-aggressive method. The reason i believe it is a passive-aggressive method is because you have directly picked out someone whom members of this post may have difficulty liking (for my non-conformity you see)and who has the opposite opinion of the book to you, you have then tried to silence them when what you really intend to do with this statement is silence an entire group. Freedom of speech is for everyone, not just those with so-called "life-experience".

    Your idea of an essay was highly amusing.

    By the way, I do intend to reproduce – deal with it.

    Katie – I’m actually exploring the relationship between Toby and Rose. Our teacher got the entire class to try out the Lambs spinning knife trick, lol.

  77. Miss. Cordelia Twat

    Well.I see in my absence much has flourished on this dear ol’ site…..Michael Gorey…whither art thou?

  78. Mr. Frown

    Yet you have nothing to add to it? Neither do I. I think we need to find an Arcadia site to overrun and inhabit…shotgun first post. Or maybe lets just get Michael to write a review on that too?

  79. Nutter

    -Another note, although i did make a comment on life-experience several posts ago, it seems the direction of that post was not quite adequate – i directed it to people who had dismissed the book as a failure when i actually wanted to direct the comment towards the students who had this opinion. Since then, i have learnt that no mistake goes unseen on this board. I do not retract the statement, as i believe it’s general meaning to be imbued with truth.

    I still believe my above analysis of William Scholl’s “dirty tactics” to be correct, however if there is evidence of fault on my part i shall stand corected, as always.

  80. Anthony

    This book is really pushing me to my limits! we have had weeks on end to study this book and im still lost,perhaps I should change my text. This book should be enjoyed not studied.

  81. Michael

    Dear Cordelia, This humble blog entry has exceeded my comment expectations by about 90 so far (now at 94 and climbing).

    The number of views on this entry has exceeded past book favorites such as Pillars of the Earth, Wilbur Smith, and Havoc in its Third Year.

    I think we’ve just about exhausted discussion here. I will close comments around the 100 mark. Last word anyone?

  82. Miss. Cordelia Twat

    Well. I never actually expected the apparantley ominiscient Michael (our very own Fish?) to respond, but he has, and I believe he’s right. So goodbye Cloudstreet, goodbye Mr Frown, goodbye Miss Cecily, Mr Smile,Fishiness Abounds, the ubiquitous Nutter and goodbye Michael Gorey.
    And contrary to popular opinion I do actually like Cloudstreet. Its a good book.And though some may say its too “Hollywood”, I prefer to call it very surreal, and surreal is always good.

    In other news, I’m post number 95.
    Numbers ending in 5 are such fun.

    Sigh. I’d take you up on that Arcadia offer Mr Frown, if Mr Gorey would so much as care to review it. (I’m joking, if that wasn’t obvious).

    All right all, lets raise one last hurrah.

    Yours in the Arts,
    Miss C. Twat

  83. English Student

    Ohh lord, I have been forced by my school to read ANOTHER Tim Winton ‘Clasic’. If that book is a clasic my essays should earn me a docterates (and i am not the best student by any means). Which you can already tell by my spelling is a valid commentary.

    However, back on topic; is it just me or did Winton seem want to finish this book in such a rush that he left something out, therefore resulting in an ending of dribeled excrement on a sheet of ficies.

    Russian Rulet would have more suspense, it was so discriptive and a like Soap Opera you didnt have a sence of any structure or a path to follow. Some say this is the art, but this resulted in me losing my way.

    On the contray, i don’t mean to bag the author. If he fooled a shitload of yanks into buying the book and sending Perth some money…sucked in.

    Yet, i did seem to enjoy how i could relate to the areas which he wrote about and i must admit he does have a sence of presence when writing humor which makes you on some occurance laugh out loud.

    Some of the chracters where extreemly enjoyable – like a hole in the head. They seemed to get on your nerves. Why read about a family with a load of misfortunate crap due to the ‘shifty shadow’ when we all have our own lives with equally as valid problems.

    If you have read it i hope you have found something i havn’t, because if not…oh well! If you havn’t read it i wouldn’t necisarly waste my time reading about 2 families when you cant act it out in real life.

    Lets hope this novel is a one off!

  84. Michael

    This post is getting a lot of visits again. I’ll re-open discussion for a couple of months to see if there’s anything new to add.

  85. Ms Intrigue

    This site certainly contains some valid discussion (sometimes hidden under layers of ego) but nevertheless I think we should start it up again!! I know there are plenty of HSC students out there just dying to discuss their set text.

    Cloudstreet is an excellent novel. The Pickles are no-hopers – Sam drinks and gambles, Dolly is a hussbag…you know I’m right. The Lambs are slightly better – at least they have a work ethic. I think Winton has done an excellent job in writing this novel. He is able to find uniqueness in the ordinary as he highlights the mystery in the lives of these two very peculiar families. I adored this novel. It’s honest, brutal and heart-wrenching, but ultimately a novel of great heart. I heartily disagree with those who have previously posted less than agreeable comments about this book. I will refrain from typing profanity, but remember – Cloudstreet is brilliant!

    PS Does anyone else think that the novel contains, in a sense, two Fish Lambs? The one who escapes and whose voice becomes one with that of the river (hence the writing style of Winton), and the one who remains and is imprisoned in the vacant room ay the heart of the house. Is Cloudstreet basically an account given by one of these Fish Lambs to the other? IT would also explain the final scene, which is a continuation of the beginning chapter (wedged between some 400 pages of storyline).

  86. Ms Tokley's English Class

    Hello to Ms Tokley’s Year 12 English Class! I know you’re reading these comments. Peace out.

    PS The Pig Rocks.

  87. Freud

    Freud once said:

    “Sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.”

    In a more relevant sense:

    Sometimes a pig is just a pig.

    End of discussion.

    1. Kailin

      sometimes a cigar is just a cigar.
      but cigars do not possess life and the posibility of them being more then a hunk of tar cannot exist.

      The pig is the shifty shadow. he is the devil, he is the one working conversion. He is a piece of Tim Winton’s work,
      and since when does Winton do something that is JUST a cigar.

      the non-realistic events actually happened in the novel, they weren’t imaginary, they were there to help you better percieve the difference between the real 1940’s to 60’s and that time period that Winton tried to create.
      All you people, you need to see that its a great Australian novel because an australian man has subverted the genertic conventions of a typical novel and written purely about TRUE events that occured in this time. He is great, you DON’T need to read it more then once. If you do i suggest maybe a book more your speed like a pop-up book or a book containing 5 words and a different baby animal each page.
      Tim Winton’s literacy is amazing. I’m 16 and I’ve read it a million times and still find it breath-taking, all you haters….. stick to your Twilight shit.

      1. Josiah

        In an interview Tim Winton said he merely put the pig in their to get around writers block and was astounded at the symbolism put behind it. ‘Sometime a cigar is just a cigar’

  88. Frewbol

    I personally thought Cloudstreet was an interesting book, one that I enjoyed quite a lot. I was just wondering if anybody had an opinion on the clearly non-realistic events i.e. Quick glowing, the 'jitterbugging' spirits etc. etc. and how they relate to your reading of the text.

    For me to properly make meaning I was forced to conclude that this text was not meant to be a realistic portrayal of life in 1940s/50s/60s Perth, but rather a commentary on themes such as the importance of family and place.

  89. Elliot Green

    You have all amused me so much. Winton's "Cloudstreet" is in my personal opinion lacking many qualities a universal timeless masterpiece consists of, is such a thing is truly obtainable. William Scholl, your comments are truly hilarious. First of all, life is no adventure, it is a sickness cast upon the evil of this world by black depths who write punishment in the blood of others. Second of all, I have also experienced the misery of others in Trivandrum, India, and my conclusions are that their are no miseries at all. These people are in Heavenly bliss. "Cloudstreet" is merely a metaphor of such life in a formation were the sick of our society can relate. "Cloudstreet" frames the sickly society that you are all stuck in, even you too William. If I was a smarter man I would not have posted this. 

  90. Sheep Head

    There is no real plot to it.
    So why is it called the Great Australian NOVEL?
    Its just a long winding history insight.

    Tim Winton,
    Not The Best WA Writer.

  91. Ben

    Clearly those of you who keep saying this book is shit and lacks plot cannot see past the literal levels. This book os so full of subverted plot you cant possibly catch on to it all without reading it a number of times and critically analysing it through a number of readings. It annoys me that people just say its shit when clearly they arent using their brains. Stop abusing tim winton to vent your own frustration and lacking understanding of a very deep book.

  92. notatimmyfren

    i reckon his editor should have like cut out the first few chapters?
    its so boring, there are too many trifle details that don’t build up to the plot and the magical realism in the book is stupid..
    a talking pig? utterly random.
    and timmy himself has said that he didnt use the pig as a technique! he claims none of the stuff in his books are literary devices!
    the characters are crude and utterly lame (esp the blackfella).
    too many characters! the picles family is so big i almost forgot there was a ted until the part he died..
    but yeah there’e some good points such as the circular narrative which he managed SOMEHOW to pull off, the symbolism of the house and river..
    thinks that abt it lol
    THEY SHOULD JUST CUT THE BOOK OUT. ITS not worth studying during schools days because there’re so many pages its insane.

  93. Jim Waldon

    I think that some of the posts on this are really unfair. The ones saying that this book is not bad are not very true. I am sure I speak on behalf on many HSC Advanced English students who possess more than 10 brain cells between them and their teachers when I say that this novel, no wait not a novel, this dead tree has some dignity.
    The concept of a talking pig is as useful as windscreen wipers on a submarine. Although it adds an element of humour and bacon there is no point. I mean to say, what’s the f*%^ing point. How does your meal talking back to you enrich your life at all…
    I’ve never been too fond of living in a refugee shelter, but this Oriel Lamb seems hell bent on living with the pigs in the most deplorable conditions known to man.
    I’d rate this book 7 out of 10 if it weren’t for senseless strings of idiosyncrasies. But taking this into account I’d rate it roughly 3.791 out of 100.
    P.S. This is a positive comment… not.

  94. Anonymous

    I had to read this book for English (Goddam i hate english). Pretty much everyone in my class thought it was boring and hard to follow. And so did I. But the way it was written was quite interesting though. The book is more spiritual based and the language used is unique.

    But in my opinion, it’s one of those books that if i HAD to read it, i’d only read it once and get it done and over with. That doesn’t mean, however, that this book is crap. most of you people are just complaining about the book due to it’s length and confusing language. Sure it’s long and confusing sometimes, but it’s the symbolism of the book that makes it a masterpiece. if you think it’s crap, thats fair enough, but thats your opinion, not the public’s opinion.

  95. Harleigh

    I read the first chapter of Cloudstreet, and was so irritated by its lack of climactic tension in threw it right back to the library, but then decided to read the script instead. Let me tell you, IT WAS AMAZING. It made me cry. So do read the play if you get a chance. Much much better. :)

  96. jonzey

    Cloudstreet is eliquent in its brevity… with little development of plot. Winton spends the entire booktrying his hardest to convince the audience he is actually a good writer… even at the basic level of buffoonery he fails miserably… whilst taking away from the small underlying themes he develops within it…..

    For example… Potentially the xenophobic nature of existance as expressesd through sams narrow viewpoint could intiate stimulation of a brain cell but winton even kills this idea…..

    try harder next time winton ps i liked dirt music????

  97. Grace

    this book would have to be one of the best i have ever read. my english teacher gave it to my class to read, n it was inspiring and trippy.there are bits of it that i still dont get but over all, i really loved it and plan on reading his newest one called, water? i think lol anyways a recommend it. pretty good for an aussie story.

  98. Tommy H

    haha this is so funny, hearing all these bitches having a bitch about each other haha but they are all from 3 years ago…does someone want 2 explain to me the symbolism of the house (cloudstreet) cheers..

  99. amber

    everybody that says they hate this book is honestly an idiot.
    if you put your heart into it it is impossible to hate. it gives you this warm feeling; its the greatest thing ever written and its such a shame some of you cant understand that.
    im in year 12 i read it and im not a nerd who is like weirdo into school work. give it a chance, because what this book gives you back is amazing.

  100. amber

    and it lacking a plot as it has been quoted is hilarious.
    its underneath the words the true story lies. Fish is the story.
    The gift he finally gives at the end is the perfect closure and symbolism of reconciliation.
    Its awkward’ way of been written and use of language is only a facade to uncover the true story.

    So i think its good not everybody truly understands the ‘true story’ its almost an exclusive story. And it takes time and analysing to truly understand it.

  101. Divine Instincts

    The house represents the union for both the families. However, it is personified to give it spiritality and mysticism which elevates the importance of ‘home’ in ones life. The house also carries with it the memories of the Aborignal girls (“Back in Time” page 35); imperatively only Fish is able to see and communicate with the dead girls whilst he plays the piano which perhaps may represent that the past still encapsulates this house and it has yet not been accepted by everyone (including both the faimiles) as their ‘home’, which in it self indicates ones search for ‘home’ in their lives. Recognise, that ones Quick and Rose are married and Fish ‘dies’ the ghosts of the dea leave, indicating that this house is a ‘home’ (note the difference between ‘house’ and ‘home’)

    I hope that helped; whoever asked that question. By the way, this is a great book, even though it is gravely multiplistic in its’ structure; it can be read in many different perspectives.

    1. Aussiegreg

      I also don’t think Fish really dies, otherwise the next scene would not be the two women calmly packing up the tent in the backyard.

      I think its about a kind of inner death, of the mentally disabled Fish, which liberates another Fish, one with the mental faculties to be the narrator of the book but also with the spiritual powers that make possible the magic realist scenes of flying boats etc.

  102. Casey

    I am studying Cloudstreet now in Year 12 and I love it! It’s the best text we’ve done all year, our teacher was definitely saving the best for last! 10 out of 10 for a wonderful book Tim Winton!

    P.S I expect the people that are unhappy with Cloudstreet (those at the very top of this comments section) would be better off reading Winton’s childrens books, they seem to be in that reading range.

  103. Mr. Turtle

    This book is drivel.

    No seriously, it really is. Cloudstreet is most tedious, pathetic excuse for a book that has been my misfortune to encounter.

    Go on, I dare someone to convince me otherwise.

  104. mia

    i didnt actually study the text,
    but i saw it in a production and i thought it was GREAT!!
    i would love to read it though because it was so captivating, knowing that it was set in perth wa, made it all that much better, to relate.

    + in production the rauchiness becomes unbearable!


    i’ll let you know tho how it goes after i read it :)

    p.s. maybe this is the same for those who hate it, but when i have to study a text in class and do an analysis i begin to hate it with a vengance!
    😉 good luck though to ppl with exams etc

  105. Morgan

    if you hated the novel, please try reading the play which has been adapted by Nick Enright and Justin Monjo. It’s so much easier to interperate and thus enjoy.. Dont give up on our aussie authors guys, if you do, well what kind of Australian are you? Give it a go, thats all i ask.


  106. jo

    im doing cloudstreet
    i didnt like it at first
    and i dont yet completely understand it
    but ive come to love some of the characters
    i dont think wintons the best writer around
    just the most popular
    and since when were popular things the best?

  107. jo

    i actually HATED this book on first beginning it
    but once you get to the end, all the characters are just so beautiful, at it reminds you of the good times in life.
    its is actually very clever.
    i dont think its the best, but you can completely knock it to the ground.
    does it not just remind you of your own families?
    of people you know?
    do you not just love the characters.
    yeahh, im a convert :)

  108. M

    I am reading this book at the moment. Unfortunately, we have to do three pieces of assessment in 11 weeks on Cloudstreet. In my opinion i have to agree with most people, it seems to lack plot and Tim Winton develops the six main characters using a range of different, un-climatic events. This book contains too much text and only a small portion of the book can be analyzed thoroughly before it becomes too boring and pointless. If i ever have to read this book again i will most likely burn the book. Winton needs to write more entertaining books and stop trying to show off his impressive writing skills.

  109. Tim Raymond

    The pig symbolises chaos in the book, when the family finally comes together, the pig stops talking…..

  110. student

    i thought it was weird to start, but then it came together a bit and made a little more sense. will admit though, if i didn’t have to read ot for skool, i wouldn’t have. second read through is what make it a classic though, so worth it to do!

    I think Winton has done a great job, also love his new one breathe and went to his talk at the orpheum. was soooooo good! so good to listen to.

  111. Metacrisis

    I happened to love this book. Someone previously mentioned that if you had more than 10 brain cells you would hate it. I beg to differ. No I don’t, I’m going to disagree anyway, as I don’t need your permission. If you have enough intelligence to understand the book, you will realise just how very good it is. Plotline? You bet there’s a plotline. Heaps of them in fact. Idiosyncracies? Of course there are. You could not connect with a character without them.
    Anyway, I think it is a wonderful book.

  112. Shanii

    I’m reading this book in English Literature at the moment, and I happen to think it’s the most wonderfully constructed book ever created, and it happens to have been by one of our own.

    If you think it doesn’t have a plotline, you are completely and utterly wrong. It’s plot begins with the death of the Aboriginal girl and ‘hag’ woman, and is even further constructed as the two families (The Lamb’s and The Pickles) come together under the one roof.

    As the story goes on, we see the battles that the Australian working class is sometimes forced to deal with, and this leads us to one of the most relevant themes of the novel: the importance of family and home. Without our family, we are nothing. Our families shape who we are, and that is what Winton is trying to get across. Together they are able to pull through every challenge that comes their way.

    The book is also about Fish’s journey of self-discovery. If you don’t understand the narrative structure, the entire novel is written through the eyes of the healthy adult version of Fish, who we know was brain-damaged when he nearly drowns. In his final moments, Fish is able to look back over his life and the lives of his family, and the novel is about him finally being able to understand.

    As for the talking pig, this creature is no different to the ghosts that haunt Cloudstreet, it is used as a device in helping the reader to understand Fish’s childlike frame of mind. When Lester is able to hear the pig speak, it symbolises the fact that he is able to understand where Fish is at.

    Lastly, I would just like to talk you through my favourite scene of the novel. It is the one where Rose and Quick make love for the first time, in the library. Their passions and lust for one another are enough to drive away the “shifty shadows” that haunt Cloustreet. I think it’s beautiful the way Winton is able to portray the fact that we, as people, can come together and overcome any obstacle.

  113. Fluke

    the pig

    he speaks and nobody but fish understands him
    fish is clearly a symbol of christianity
    christians primarily follow the bible
    and the bible says we cant eat pigs, or any animal that is cleft footed or chews of the cud for that matter.
    of course the bible was written with those messages so that the people in the time it was written wouldnt get disease and the like.

    i believe that by killing the pig the lambs would have completely severed the ties with their relationship with ‘god’.
    when the pig is attacked by dogs and nursed back to health by the lambs its symbolic of their slowly strengthening relationship with god, clearly demonstrated by the increasing number of religous references as the novel progresses.

    Overall, the novel is filled with too many tiny details that everybody pays too much attention to, even Tim Winton. For a novel set over 20 years following the lives of people from their youths to their deaths, why do we know more about the pig than we do about Chub pickles

  114. jess

    Does everyone know about the mini series coming out early next year?

    They’ve been filming for the past few months, and my brother got the roll of Ted Pickles. I can’t really comment on the book as I’ve only just started reading it.

    But I think you should definitely watch the mini series and see how it compares!

  115. Noemi

    Winton’s novels can be difficult to read because he writes with such strong imagery and atmosphere.

    So, I usually purchase two versions of the book. A paperback copy and an audio book. These audio books are read by actors and totally bring the whole thing to life. I find I can concentrate on the imagery and the plot twists, etc, when not having to read the text.

    Then, after listening to the story at least once I read the paperback a couple of times.

    Wonderful way to cope with long journeys.

  116. Student

    After reading this book, along with my A Level class we have decided this is possible the worst book ever written, the fact that it is one of Australia’s best novels makes us fear what the worst must be like, with no real plot and six characters which are developed where only two have any slight interest to the reader, once I am done with this book I think I might have to burn it, but this vengeance against the book might have something to do with having to analysis everything small and pointless detail of it, but even so I would not recommended it to anyone unless you wish to read a book, which could drain the life out of you.

  117. kevin

    Burning the Man chapter says that Guy Fawkes day Nov 5th was the night for bonfires and crackers. My memory is that in Australia bonfires and cracker night was on Empire Day May 24th.

    1. Michael

      Guy Fawkes Day was always celebrated on November 5 (or the nearest Saturday) in Victoria as “Bonfire Night” with firecrackers while they were allowed.

      I assume WA was the same. Which state are you referring to Kevin?

      1. kevin


        New South Wales. I have had it confirmed that cracker night in NSW was May 24th by newspaper articles in Sydney Morning Herald.

    2. Lee

      I am in WA and Guy Fawkes Day is 5th November. I am old enough to remember when we did have crackers in the back yard for Guy Fawkes Day.

  118. Isabella

    i loved cloudstreet. i love the language used, i love the characters, i love the symbolisms, i love the strangeness of the whole thing. And i goddamn love the pig.

  119. Lee

    There is a movie being made based on this book. It is being filmed here in Perth. I know people who are working on the movie.
    As for the pig, Isabella, I am told it is HUGE!
    I have been able to go and visit the set… it is amazing how they recreated the old house and I am told, through the movie the home is restored to it’s former glory.
    Can hardly wait to see the movie!

  120. jess

    Lee, it’s not a movie it’s a mini series to be shown on showtime.

    i saw them film the pig scene! quite hilarious.

    they built the house in 26 days from scratch, it is beautiful… so detailed. hard to believe they can build a new house and make it look decades old!

    sad though, i’m pretty sure they have to tare it down when they’re done filming (soon) as the building isn’t stable enough to be kept there.

  121. Josiah

    I think everyone misses many of the themes and motifs within the book and it is the understanding of these which really allows the responders imagination to run wild and really appreciate the novel. I read the novel once and thought it was the weirdest book i’d ever seen, but if you look at it closely its magical.

    Winton explores the reversal of a patriachal society through the dominance of women in the novel, ie oriel. He looks at aboriginal spirituality and allows Fish to explore and enlighten everyone. Winton uses cloudstreet the house metaphorically in to express the insularity of australia and the White Australia approach that was very common of the time.

    The spirits of the house are again the aboriginal spirits and winton uses descriptions such as ‘the stink’ of the library to describe the attitudes of white australia towards them.

    As for the pig, stop making it more then it is, its a pig, winton in an interview said that he used the pig to get around writers block and was astounded that so much symbolism can be put behind it.

    I’m not saying everyone should enjoy this novel, not by any means. I’m just saying that before you judge it for being whacky, try and understand it.

  122. Amelia

    It’s a story about the spiritual journeys that the characters take. =/ I can understand how people find it hard to follow, it’s really each to his own.

    I really enjoyed the book, to be honest. All characters I found interesting. Each character has his or her own little quest, like Fish and his wish to reconnect with his spirituality or Quick and his acceptance of other’s grief. Or, well, that’s how I interpreted it. You really have to read between the lines with this book, which is why I can understand how maybe younger readers would find it harder to connect with.

    Josiah, I agreee~

  123. anonymous

    The beauty about this book is the language and the style. If you don’t take it too seriously, and simply read it for the language, it’s amazing. I could read those sorts of sentences over and over again…

  124. unadara

    I have to read Cloudstreet for a literature course here in Ireland. I knew Winton was one of the chosen authors and was delighted as I have read Dirt Music, Breathe, Open Swimmer and some short stories and have really enjoyed his descriptions-especially of the ocean, surf, beach towns culture. I do have problems with the language and would love a means to translate some of the lingo!. I am now so looking forward to reading this novel. I goggled winton cloudstreet..and this was the first item I went on to. I am so happy that in Australia the “government” have the wisdom to put current writers who write on modern themes on the literature syllabus. You Australians are lucky. Irish writers are not too bad either!

  125. k

    At first thought I wasnt a fan of this book and ended up putting it down for a while. However, I eventually picked it up again and managed to really get into it. While it may not put quotation marks around speech and have a set structure and plot, I found that these factors contributed to the overall theme of the novel as well as the fact that it is supposed to represent life. Many who complained about the first few chapters are forgetting that in the grand scheme of the things, life has its dull moments, however they all eventually lead to something bigger and if you gave the book a chance like I did, you would see the stories evolve along with the characters.

  126. Alaecia

    I read this book in HSC English. It is definitely my favourite book of all time. I am in love with the way Winton uses language. Beautiful words. Interesting and expressive use of (& lack of) punctuation. It’s no ordinary read. Each sentence is perfectly crafted. It’s genius.

  127. Alaecia

    Not only is each sentence perfectly crafted, all of the intricately woven symbolism & sub-plots create a story that is as perfectly constructed as the networks of the human brain.

  128. John

    I find this book very similar to A Tree Grows in Brooklyn. I hated every bit of A Tree Grows in Brooklyn until the very end. I felt the same way about Cloudstreet until I realized everything was coming together. What made both novels good in the end where the strong characters and both authors abilities to tie-in random events to the end. Personally I still couldn’t stand A Tree Grows in Brooklyn but Cloudstreet was so well crafted that it was enjoyable in the end. Could have been heaps shorter!

  129. chols

    LOL; Its amazing how many different ways people can find to all say the same things. Personally, I haven’t read the novel, but we’re doing the script for English and, true, at first I didn’t find it the most riveting of stories, until I stopped looking at the words and started looking at the story that it was portraying and the characters whose traits are still so easily seen in people of today. That was the point upon which I got hooked.

    Also, although I found reading back through previous comments posted amusing, what really gets me is that people can be so bitchy about each other’s opinions. Just because someone does or doesn’t like something that you do doesn’t mean that they’re limited to a whole of 10 brain cells. Everyone likes different things, especially when it comes to things like books, art, movies, etc. It’s like asking a person whose lactose intolerant why they don’t like drinking milk? As pointed out above in relation to the pig, everyone has their own interpretations of things but just because they’re different to our own does this mean that we nail them to a stake and set them on fire? Hello! We’re in the C21 here! Not on some witch hunt in medieval times when people were killed just because they were different!

    p.s. sorry for rambling, I only meant to make a brief statement. So much for that idea :b


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