"Cloudstreet a broken down house of former glories on the wrong side of the tracks, a place teeming with memories of its own, a place of shudders, shadows and spirits.
"From separate catastrophes, two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing this great breathing, sighing, muttering structure and begin their lives again from scratch.
"There are the industrious Lambs, who wait and wait on the God of Miracles who seems to have foresaken them, and the gambling Pickleses, who prefer to deal with the mysteries of Lady Luck and her henchmen. Both aghast at the fates which have delivered them to Cloudstreet, and the baffling realisation that they will always remain there.
"Together they roister and rankle in a divided house that begins as a roof over their heads and becomes a home for their hearts.
"In this fresh, funny novel, full of wonder and dreams, brilliant young Australian author, Tim Winton, weaves the threads of lifetimes, of 20 years of shouting and fighting, laughing and grafting, into a story about acceptance and belonging."
"It is, I suspect, a masterpiece" - Veronica Brady, West Australian
"Nothing short of magnificent...a wonderful read" - Andrew Yule, Time Out
Will you look at us by the river! The whole restless mob of us on spread blankets in the dreamy briny sunshine skylarking and chiacking about for one day, one clear, clean, sweet day in a good world in the midst of our living. Yachts run before an unfelt gust with bagnecked pelicans riding above them, the city their twitching backdrop, all blocks and points of mirror light down to the water's edge.
Twenty years, they all say, sprawling and drinking. There's ginger beer, staggerjuice and hot flasks of tea. There pasties, a ham, chickenlegs and a basket of oranges, potato salad and dried figs. There are things spilling from jars and bags.
The speech is silenced by a meodious belch which gets big applause. Someone blurts on a baby's belly and a song strikes up. Unless you knew, you'd think they were a whole group, an earthly vision. Because, look, even the missing are there, the gone and taken are with them in the shade pools of the peppermints by the beautiful, the beautiful the river. And even now, one of the here is leaving.
From the Picador hardback edition, 1991.
This novel won the Miles Franklin Award in 1992.
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Last modified: January 26, 2006.