"Georgie Jutland is a mess. At forty, with her career in ruins, she finds herself stranded in White Point with a fisherman she doesn't love and two kids whose dead mother she can never replace. Her days have fallen into domestic tedium and social isolation. Her nights are a blur of vodka and pointless loitering in cyberspace. Leached of all confidence, Georgie has lost her way; she barely recognises herself.
"One morning in the boozy pre-dawn gloom, she looks up from the computer screen to see a shadow lurking on the beach below, and a dangerous new element enters her life. Luther Fox, the local poacher. Jinx. Outcast.
"So begins an unlikely alliance. Set in the wild landscape of Western Australia, this is a novel about the odds of breaking with the past, a love story about people stifled by grief or regret, whose dreams are lost, whose hopes have dried up. It's a journey across landscapes within and without, about the music that sometimes arises from the dust.
"In prose as haunting and beautiful as its western setting, Dirt Music confirms Tim Winton's status as the pre-eminent Australian novelist of his generation."
One night in November, another that had somehow become morning while she sat there, Georgie Jutland looked up to see her pale and furious face reflected in the window. Only a moment before she'd been perusing the blueprints for a thirty-two-foot Pain Clark from 1913 which a sailing enthusiast from Manila had posted on his website, but she was bumped by the server and was overtaken by such a silly rush of anger that she had to wonder what was happening to her. Neither the boat nor the bloke in Manila meant a damn thing to her; they were of as little consequence as every other site she'd visited in the last six hours. In fact, she had to struggle to remember how she'd spent the time. She had traipsed through the Uffizi without any more attention than a footsore tourist. She'd stared at a live camera image of a mall in the city of Perth, been to the Frank Zappa fan club of Brazil, seen Francis Drake's chamberpot in the Tower of London and stumbled upon a chat group for world citizens who yearned to be amputees.
Logging on - what a laugh. They should have called it stepping off. When Georgie sat down before the terminal she was gone in her seat, like a pensioner at the pokies, gone for all money. Into that welter of useless information night after night to confront people and notions she could do without. She didn't know why she bothered except that it ate time. Still, you had to admit that it was nice to be without a body for a while; there was an addictive thrill in being of no age, no gender, with no past. It was an infinite sequence of opening portals, of menus and corridors that let you into brief, painless encounters, where what passed for life was a listless kind of browsing. World without consequence, amen. And in it she felt light as an angel. Besides, it kept her off the sauce.
From the Picador hardback edition, 2001.
This page and its contents are copyright © 2002 by Perry Middlemiss, Melbourne, Victoria, Australia.Return to Tim Winton Page.
Last modified: February 14, 2002.