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Breath - Tim Winton

Hardcover

Published: May 2008
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More than once since then I've wondered whether the life-threatening high jinks that Loonie and I and Sando and Eva got up to in the years of my adolescence were anything more than a rebellion against the monotony of drawing breath.

Breath is a story about the wildness of youth - the lust for excitement and terror, the determination to be extraordinary, the wounds that heal and those that don't - and about learning to live with its passing.

In his first novel for seven years, Tim Winton has achieved a new level of mastery. Breath confirms him as one of the world's finest storytellers, a writer of novels that are at the same time simple and profound, relentlessly gripping and deeply moving.

When paramedic Bruce Pike arrives too late to save a boy found hanged in his bedroom he senses immediately that this lonely death is an accident. Pike knows the difference between suicide and misadventure. He understands only too well the forces that can propel a kid toward oblivion. Not just because he's an ambulanceman but because of the life he's lived, the boy he once was, addicted to extremes, flirting with death, pushing every boundary in the struggle to be extraordinary, barely knowing where or how to stop. So begins a story about the damage you do to yourself when you're young and think you're immortal.

Sun, surf and the '70s Down Under provide the backdrop for the story of a boy's awakening through rough sex.Paramedic Bruce Pike and his partner answer a medical emergency call at a suburban home. In a bedroom crowded with rock-star and hot-chick posters, Bruce finds the body of a 17-year-old boy who appears to have committed suicide. But Bruce, a middle-aged dad, knows better, and the narrative turns back to his adolescence to explain how he knows. Australian author Winton (The Turning: Stories, 2005, etc.) offers a tight narrative notable for its empathetic characters and effectively spare use of shock. Growing up in the tiny outback town of Sawyer, Bruce is besotted with swimming. His quiet, orderly parents don't dig his friendship with surf-and-diving whiz Loonie, a daredevil one year older than Bruce. Even less do they cotton to Sando, the hippie surf-stallion who becomes the boys' guru and guide to All Things Wild. Discovering that Sando had been a star of sorts at the sport of hanging ten, they worship him even more as he takes them farther out to higher and higher waves. Equally compelling, in a more fearsome way, is Sando's squeeze, blonde, scornful, tight-bodied Eva. She was once famous, too, the boys find out, a Snow Goddess skiing champ. As Loonie and Sando dangerously bond, Bruce falls for aloof Eva. Her tour of the mysteries of love includes introducing him to her dangerous fixation on auto-asphyxiation for maximum erotic kicks. So when paramedic Bruce examines the body of the 17-year-old suspected of killing himself, he blames thrill-gone-wrong sex. Bruce has been there, done that and emerged wiser, world-weary and chastened. Period details like Eva's Captain Beefheart and Ravi Shankar records add verisimilitude, and Winton handles youthful angst like a hipper John Knowles.Lyricism empowers this stoner rite-of-passage saga, which also conveys a timeless pathos. (Kirkus Reviews)

ISBN: 9780241015308
ISBN-10: 0241015308
Audience: General
Format: Hardcover
Language: English
Number Of Pages: 224
Published: May 2008
Dimensions (cm): 24.1 x 16.0  x 2.4
Weight (kg): 24.1

Tim Winton

The pre-eminent Australian novelist of his generation, Tim’s literary reputation was established early when his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the 1981 Australian Vogel Award; his second novel Shallows, won the Miles Franklin Award in 1984; and his third book, Scission, a collection of short stories, won the West Australian Council Literary Award in 1985.

That Eye the Sky was adapted for the stage by Justin Monjo and Richard Roxburgh, and also made into a film. A second film adaptation was made of In the Winter Dark, featuring Brenda Blethyn.

Tim’s fifth novel, Cloudstreet, the story of two working-class families rebuilding their lives, was a huge literary and commercial success. It has been a best seller since its publication in 1991 and was recently voted the most popular Australian novel by the Australian Society of Authors. Awards include National Book Council Banjo Award for Fiction, 1991; West Australian Fiction Award 1991; Deo Gloria Award (UK), 1991 and the 1992 Miles Franklin Award.

Cloudstreet, was adapted for the stage by Nick Enright and Justin Monjo, and played to sell-out houses around Australia and in Zurich, London and Dublin in 1999. It toured internationally again in 2001, playing in London, New York and Washington. Film rights have been bought by Cloudstreet Inc. (USA).

Tim’s 1995 novel The Riders was shortlisted for the prestigious Booker Prize and has been translated into numerous languages including French, German, Italian, Danish, Dutch, Polish, Greek and Hebrew.

His books for children and teenagers include the series of three books about the 13 year old Lockie Leonard. The first book in the series, Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo, won the Western Australia Premier's Award for Children's Fiction. It was adapted for the stage by Paige Gibbs and toured nationally with great success. Lockie Leonard, Legend, the most recent in the series, won the Family Award for Children’s Literature. The books are being made into a television series by RB Films.

In 2001 Tim’s novel, Dirt Music, was published to considerable critical acclaim and impressive reviews. The book was shortlisted for the 2002 Mann Booker Prize and won the 2002 Miles Franklin Award, the West Australian Fiction Award and the Christina Stead Award for Fiction. Film rights have been optioned to Phil Noyce’s film company, Rumbalara Films, and Colin Farrell and Rachel Weisz are signed to star in the film.

The Turning, published in 2004, was described as At once exquisite and unsettling, brimming with imagery so lush and observations so precise the book is almost incandescent (The Bulletin). The Turning was shortlisted for the Frank O’Connor Short Story Award and won the Christina Stead Prize for Fiction, the Queensland Fiction Book Award and the Colin Roderick Award.

His new novel, Breath, was published by Penguin Books Australia, Picador United Kingdom, Farrar Straus Giroux USA, Harper Collins Canada, de Gues in the Netherlands, Luchterland Germany and Editions Rivages Payot France in 2008.

Breath was awarded the 2009 Miles Franklin Prize for Literature.

Tim Winton is patron of the Tim Winton Award for Young Writers sponsored by the City of Subiaco, Western Australia. Active in the environmental movement in Australia, he was awarded the Centenary Medal for service to literature and the community. He is also the patron of the Australian Marine Conservation Society and the Stop the Toad Foundation and is active in many of their campaigns. He has recently contributed to the whaling debate with an article published on The Last Whale website. He lives in Western Australia with his wife and three children.

Awards


Winner - 2003 Australian Society of Authors Medal

For Adults:
Breath
Winner - 2009 Miles Franklin Award
Winner - 2008 Age Book of the Year Fiction Award
Winner - 2008 Indie Award
Shortlisted - 2009 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, South East Asia and the South Pacific Region
Shortlisted - 2009 New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, Christina Stead Prize
The Turning
Shortlisted - 2005 Inaugural Frank O'Connor International Short Story Award
Commended - 2005 Commonwealth Writers' Prize, South East Asia and South Pacific Region, Best Book
Winner - 2005 Queensland Premier's Literary Award, Best Fiction Book
Winner - 2005 New South Wales Premier's Literary Award, Christina Stead Prize
Joint Winner - 2004 Colin Roderick Award
Dirt Music
Shortlisted - 2002 Man Booker Prize
Shortlisted - 2002 Kiriyama Prize
Winner - 2002 Miles Franklin Award
Winner - 2002 New South Wales Premier's Literary Awards, Christina Stead Prize
Winner - 2001 Western Australian Premier's Book Award - Book of the Year
Winner - 2001 Western Australian Premier's Book Award - Fiction
Winner - 2001 Good Reading Award - Readers Choice Book of the Year
Winner - 2001 Australian Booksellers Association Book of the Year Award
The Riders
Shortlisted - 1995 Booker Prize
Winner - 1995 Commonwealth Writers Prize, South East Asia and South Pacific Region
Cloudstreet
Winner - 1992 Deo Gloria Award
Winner - 1991 NBC Banjo Award for Literature
Winner -1991 Miles Franklin Award
Joint Winner - 1991 Western Australia Premier's Book Award - Fiction
Minimum of Two and Other Stories
Winner - 1988 Western Australian Premier's Book Award - Fiction
Scission and Other Stories
Joint Winner - 1985 Western Australian Premier's Book Award - Fiction
Winner - 1985 Western Australian Council Literary Award
Shallows
Winner - 1984 Miles Franklin Literary Award
Joint Winner - 1985 Western Australian Premier's Book Award - Fiction
An Open Swimmer
Winner - 1981 Australian/Vogel National Literary Award

For Children and Young Adults:
Lockie Leonard, Legend
Winner - 1998 Family Award for Children's Literature
Blueback
Winner - 1998 Bolinda Audio Book Awards
Winner - 1998 Wilderness Society Environment Award
Winner - 1999 WAYRBA Hoffman Award for Young Readers
Lockie Leonard, Scumbuster
Winner - 1993 Wilderness Society Environment Award
The Buglalugs Bum Thief
Winner - 1994 CROW Award (Children Reading Outstanding Writers): Focus list (Years 3-5)
Winner - 1998 YABBA Awards: Fiction for Younger Readers
Lockie Leonard, Human Torpedo
Winner - 1993 American Library Association Best Book for Young Adults Award
Winner - 1996 YABBA Awards: Fiction for Older Readers
Joint winner - 1991 Western Australian Premier's Book Award: Children's Book
Jesse
Winner - 1990 Western Australian Premier's Book Award: Children's Book

Visit Tim Winton's Booktopia Author Page