Great Reads for Holiday Time: Island Home – a Landscape Memoir by Tim Winton
Some people might find this book is a little heavier going to read, I know I did, but I also think it’s a really important one to read. I want to love reading Tim Winton books but I do find his use of language goes over my head sometimes. I find his elaborate and complicated manner of writing makes me have to think too hard to find reading his books easy, but if you can get past that or don’t have a problem with it, he certainly has a way of describing the Australian landscape, lifestyle and people completely and precisely.
What I loved about this book is that if you’ve been to some of the places he mentions you know exactly what he’s talking about. The book is mostly a memoir looking at where and how Tim Winton grew up and how the landscape, lifestyle and social settings made him the person and writer he is today. More than that though, I found he puts into words the way I, and I’m sure many others feel about our country. The indisputable connection that Australian Aboriginals have to their land and environment is central to their being and beliefs and having travelled to, and seen a lot of contrasting Australian landscapes I often have a feeling of being overwhelmed by a presence of something so much bigger and even spiritual sometimes.
Tim Winton has nailed it in this memoir when he refers to places having a palpable force which I know I have experienced too. He has spent a lot of time in the Pilbara and Kimberley regions of Western Australia and refers to powerful sensations felt when visiting areas there. I can relate to that especially when just a couple of you find yourself in these imposing landscapes and experience it first-hand. You do feel like you are almost intruding and need to ask permission to be there or reassure someone / something that you fully respect the land you’re walking in. You almost get the feeling of being watched in some of the overwhelming natural chasms and gorges especially. Another experience that every Australian should have I think is to camp under a desert sky, you never feel smaller and more insignificant than under an all-encompassing black, blanketing sky, millions of stars and infinite space.
There are so many truly awe inspiring places in Australia that should never be taken for granted and never be tampered with or potentially harmed.
Towards the end of the book Tim refers to the feeling of discomfort that some Australians have to the term ‘sacred’ and philosophy behind it but one of the quotes from his book that resonated with me is this:
“Our future is organic and material. This earth is our home, our only home. And if home and family aren’t sacred, what else can be”?
As well as being one of Australia’s most well-known authors, Tim Winton is the Patron of ‘Protect Ningaloo – Save Exmouth Gulf’. This group, supported by a number of prominent Australians is yet again trying to protect a stunning natural asset from environmentally threating practices of oil and gas exploration. You can read more about and throw your support behind it at the following website: https://www.protectningaloo.org.au/
Here’s to enjoying our special country.