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Land's Edge  : A Coastal Memoir - Tim Winton

Land's Edge

A Coastal Memoir


Published: 22nd November 2010
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'In this record of a life-long love affair with the sea, Tim Winton's prose ripples, shimmers and surges with awe and respect for how the ocean has not only sustained him physically and emotionally but determined the very rhythms of his life.'


On childhood holidays to the beach the sun and surf kept Tim Winton outside in the mornings, in the water; the wind would drive him indoors in the afternoons, to books and reading. This ebb and flow of the day became a way of life.

In this beautifully delicate memoir, Tim Winton writes about his obsession with what happens where the water meets the shore – about diving, dunes, beachcombing – and the sense of being on the precarious, wondrous edge of things that haunts his novels.

Complemented by the breathtaking photographs of Narelle Autio, Land's Edge is a celebration of the coastal life and those who surrender themselves to it.

Winton's homage to the ocean and his childhood... A book to return to again and again.' Matt Condon, Sun Herald

'A love letter to the beach, an enchanting celebration of life on the edge.' Sydney Morning Herald

About The Author

Tim Winton has published twenty-one books for adults and children, and his work has been translated into twenty-five languages. Since his first novel, An Open Swimmer, won the Australian/Vogel Award in 1981, he has won the Miles Franklin Award four times (for Shallows, Cloudstreet, Dirt Music and Breath) and twice been shortlisted for the Booker Prize (for The Riders and Dirt Music). He lives in Western Australia



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Land's Edge

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Tim Winton's best


from Lake Macquarie

About Me Bookworm

Verified Buyer


  • Deserves Multiple Readings
  • Easy To Understand
  • Informative
  • Relevant
  • Well Written


    Best Uses

    • Gift
    • Older Readers
    • Travel Reading

    Comments about Land's Edge:

    I loved this book - reminded me of my own childhood on the beach

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    On a low tide Monday afternoon just short of my thirty-third birthday the winter sun finally comes out to burn the sky clear of cloud and the kids and I gallop onto the beach to play. An easterly wind spikes out across the broad lagoon flattening the sea and running rashes across it in cold gusts. Under the sun the water shows its mottling of deeps and shal lows, black and turquoise, reef and sand, dark and light, its coming and its going. The blunted swell butts against the barrier reef in feeble lines that lie down before the wind. Way out, the horizon looks like a ripsaw. At first glimpse of the Indian Ocean I stop running and feel the relief unwinding in my chest, in my neck and shoulders. Dinghies twist against their moorings. Gulls scatter before the blur of my insane kelpie. Two days off the plane, I am finally home.

    The sand is cold beneath our bare feet and the dunes damp and spicy with marram grass and salt bush. We wheel down the wind hollows between the dunes, yelling and fooling about, shaking off the confines of the house, the stalemates and frustra tions of winter indoors. The sun slants finely on our necks, barely felt, lighting the hard white beach to squinting point, to the momentary point of summer.

    Down at the low-water mark, at the scalloped edges of the shore, the water is gigglingly cold. Clouds rise around our feet. The four of us hold hands and bend like a sail, raucous in the east wind, laughing with shock.

    The kids fall to digging and damming and sculpting. They wet the knees of their trousers. They sniff back the gunk of their head colds and go quiet with concentration over moats and walls while I stand there in the water with my feet going numb and my mind drifting in a kind of fugue state that only comes to me here.

    There is no one else around. I flinch at the sound of a school of whitebait cracking the sur face a few metres away. It's alive out there. After the still, exhausted Aegean, where nothing moves but the plastic bags, it seems like a miracle. Call it jet lag, cabin fever, but I am almost in tears. There is nowhere else I'd rather be, nothing else I would prefer to be doing. I am at the beach looking west with the continent behind me as the sun tracks down to the sea. I have my bearings.

    Like most Australians I have spent much of my life in the suburbs. I was raised in the Perth sub urb of Karrinyup. A quarter acre, a terracotta roof, a facade knocked out by some bored government architect, a Hills Hoist in the back yard and picket fences between us and the neighbours. It was the sixties and the street was full of young families, State Housing applicants, migrants from Holland and Yugoslavia and the English north - foot sol diers of the great sprawl trying to make our way in the raw diagram of streets we slowly filled to make a new neighbourhood. I lived there happily for twelve years but I do not dream of that house.

    As an adult - well, a child bridegroom, really - I dabbled with the older, more substan tial world of the inner city where the trees were thick-trunked and the grapevines gnarled and the roofs tin and steep with age. Here, old people were staying on and young people moving in to make lifestyle decisions and think long and seriously about themselves. It was the eighties. A quarter acre, fences, another Hills Hoist (the landlord's) in the back yard.

    A quintessential Australian suburban life, per haps. But again, when I dream, when I remember, when I doze into reverie, I don't see the picket fences and the Holden in the driveway. I don't see the checkerboard tiles of the Karrinyup kitchen floor or hear the whine of mowers or the hiss of the boiling chip heater. On rare and dreaded fam ily slide nights, I am shocked to see myself in a glistening yellow raincoat. It was never winter when I was a kid! I never looked so pale! I have to strain to recognize myself in Hush Puppies and a mohair turtleneck, ready for Sunday School with my brother, who is about to bawl. Because in my memory of childhood there is always the smell of bubbling tar, of Pinke Zinke, the briny smell of the sea. It is always summer and I am on Scarborough Beach, blinded by light, with my shirt off and my back a map of dried salt and peeling sunburn. There are waves cracking on the sandbar and the rip flags are up. My mum, brown as a planed piece of jarrah, is reading a novel by John O'Hara with cleavage on the cover and someone is spraying coconut oil on the bodies of girls in wide-side bikinis. Out there is west, true west. The sea is where the sun goes at the end of the day, where it lives while you sleep. I have a fix on things when I know where west is.

    I often wonder about these two childhoods of mine, the one contained and clothed, between fences, the other rambling, windblown, half naked between the flags. Is it just nostalgia? Have I idealized these summers and chased their myth all my adult life? Did the suburban boy simply imagine himself a coastal life?

    No, I lived both these lives and have the wonky slides to prove it. It's just that I lived the coastal life harder, with more passion. As a kid I recognized that life, embraced it and made it my own. In sight of the sea I felt as though I had all my fingers and toes. I was relaxed and confident. At the beach I wasn't just passive, letting life happen to me; I didn't care about being smart or popular, I didn't long to be better looking. The sea swallowed up all my primary school anxieties. Something suddenly consumed my whole attention. I surged toward shore through the laughing crowd, bodysurfing, careful not to lose the togs. Out beyond the break, I dived and brought up fistfuls of white sand to prove to myself! could do it. The sun on my back was like a blush of recognition, and in the rare moments I was still, I sat and stared towards Rottnest Island, at the wild glitter that bucked and swayed with out resting. The remainder of my life was indoor stuff - eating and sleeping and grinding through spelling lists, laps of the oval - but even from school I could see the bomboras breaking way out to sea on a high swell, there at the corner of my eye.

    I lived five kilometres inland, a blinding lime stone road away from the coast. My house had no view; I was landlocked by picket fences and parked cars and homework, but in the afternoons I could smell the Fremantle Doctor coming in across the treetops, stirring the curtains and the copper boiled washing. It came as sweet relief, cool and merciful, and at night as it moderated to a gentle breeze it brought the coast upon it in the scents of brine and seagrass. The pounding of the swell against the land's edge was so clear it seemed the sea was only a dune away. I didn't need a map to know where I was. In the atlas I lived in a dot, but with that breeze on my back I had a life and a place.
    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.


    Winner - 2003 Australian Society of Authors Medal

    For Adults:
    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
    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
    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
    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
    Winner - 1990 Western Australian Premier's Book Award: Children's Book

    Visit Tim Winton's Booktopia Author Page

    ISBN: 9781926428284
    ISBN-10: 1926428285
    Audience: General
    Format: Hardcover
    Language: English
    Number Of Pages: 124
    Published: 22nd November 2010
    Publisher: Penguin Books Australia
    Country of Publication: AU
    Dimensions (cm): 20.7 x 14.9  x 1.5
    Weight (kg): 0.36
    Edition Number: 1