Selected in May 2003 by members of The Australian Society of Authors as their favourite Australian book.
Selected in December 2004 by the Australian public in an ABC poll as Australia's fifth favourite book.
'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)
'The consolidation of the myths produced by Gallipoli suffused much of Australian public culture in the decades following the end of the First World War, producing models of masculinity, community and nationhood that became inscribed as cultural norms. It is these very norms that Winton's notion of the potential "new tribalism" of Australian community seeks to disrupt, especially by way of Cloudstreet's representation of family.' (Source: Article.)