'Based on Tim Winton’s award-winning novel set in mid-70s coastal Australia. Two teenage boys, hungry for discovery, form an unlikely bond with a reclusive surfer and his mysterious wife. The boys are driven to take risks that will have a profound and lasting impact on their lives.'
Source: Screen Australia.
'Tim Winton’s fiction has divided critics. His writing has been characterised as nostalgic (Dixon), as too Christian (Goldsworthy), as blokey, and even misogynist (Schürholz). He has been pilloried on the blog site Worst of Perth, with its ‘Wintoning Project,’ which calls for contributions of ‘Australian or Western Australian schmaltz, in the style of our most famous literary son, master dispenser of literary cheese and fake WA nostalgia Tim Winton’ (online). And he has won the top Australian literary prize, The Miles Franklin Award, four times (Shallows, 1984; Cloudstreet, 1992; Dirt Music, 2002; and Breath, 2009). Winton’s oeuvre spans three decades. It remains highly recognisable in its use of Australian vernacular and its sun-filled, beachy Western Australian settings; but it has also taken some dramatic, dark and probingly self-questioning turns. While critics often look for common strands in an author’s oeuvre, it is revealing to consider developments and changes between individual works. How do the darker, more abject elements of Winton’s imaginative visions relate to the ‘wholesome’ if macho Aussie surfer image, or to the writer of plenitude somehow embarrassing to critics?' (Author's introduction)
In this essay, Brigid Rooney 'takes up the questions of sublimity - an the literary limits of representing it' - in Tim Winton's Breath. (8)
In this essay 'Birns draws us back to why literature (and good literary criticism) is valuable. Literature refuses the linguistically flat, unresonant and purely categorising. It sees links - in the characters and the oetics of language - to what is lost, to what the divineing the human might be if only the 'narcisstistic market-god' could be transcended. Birn's reading of Breath's Australian and American characters and the increasingly shared modern, capitalist wold they inhabit is from the perspective of a North American critic.' (Editors introduction, 11)
In this essay, Hou Fei argues that the interpretation of Winton's novel Breath, 'needs to take into account the context of the Vietnam War, which is not used by Winton merely as a historical event for background colour withing a surfing novel.' (285)
'In Dirt Music, remembering the time before a car crash took the lives of his brother Darkie, Darkie's wife Sal, and their two children, Bird and Bullet, Luther Fox recalls Bird's question : 'Lu, how come water lets you through it?' Bird is the one who saw God, and 'if anyone saw God it would likely be her. Bird's the nearest thing to an angelic being.' Bird's question suggests the function of water in Winton's novels. Water is everywhere in his writing, as people sail on it, dive into it, live on the edge of it. Clearly the sea and the river are vital aspects of the writer's own experience. But water is more than an omnipresent feature of his writing and his life, the oceanscape of his stories. It is something that 'lets you through'. It lets you through because it is the passage to a different state of being, sometimes in dream, sometimes in physical extremity, but always offers itself as the medium of transformation. When it lets you through - whether to escape to a different life, as a rite of passage to adulthood, to see the world in a new way or to discover the holiness of the earth or the wonder of the world, whether it is the baptismal water of redemption to an opening to a world of silence - and it is all these things- you become different.' (Author's introduction 16)
'Tim Winton's female characters show a strong tendency towards self-threatening behaviors, transience and ferocity. This is evident in the violent deaths of Jewel in An Open Swimmer, Maureen in Shallows, Ida's murder in In the Winter Dark [...], Tegwyn's self-harm in That Eye, the Sky, Dolly's alcoholism in Cloudstreet, Eva Sanderson's Hutchence-lookalike death in Breath and, obviously, the ephemerality of mothers in Dirt Music...' (96)
'What do the artistic works of acclaimed author Tim Winton and eminent Ngarinyin lawman Bungal (David) Mowaljarlai have in common?
'According to Hannah Rachel Bell they both reflect sacred relationship with the natural world, the biological imperative of a male rite of passage, an emergent urban tribalism, and the fundamental role of story in the transmission of cultural knowledge. In Bell's four decade friendship with Mowaljarlai, she had to confront the cultural assumptions that sculpted her way of seeing. The journey was life-changing.
'When she returned to teaching in 2001 Tim Winton's novels featured in the curriculum. She recognised an eerie familiarity and thought Winton must have been influenced by traditional elders to express such an 'indigenous' perspective. She wrote to him. This resulted in 4 years of correspondence and an excavation of converging world views - exposed through personal memoir, letters, paintings and conversations and culminating in Storymen.' (From the publisher's website.)