''I grew up on the world's largest island.'
'This apparently simple fact is the starting point for Tim Winton's beautiful, evocative and sometimes provocative memoir of how this unique landscape has shaped him and his writing.
'For over thirty years, Winton has written novels in which the natural world is as much a living presence as any character. What is true of his work is also true of his life: from boyhood, his relationship with the world around him – rockpools, seacaves, scrub and swamp – was as vital as any other connection. Camping in hidden inlets of the south-east, walking in the high rocky desert fringe, diving at Ningaloo Reef, bobbing in the sea between sets, Winton has felt the place seep into him, with its rhythms, its dangers, its strange sustenance, and learned to see landscape as a living process.
'Island Home is the story of how that relationship with the Australian landscape came to be, and how it has determined his ideas, his writing and his life. It is also a passionate exhortation for all of us to feel the ground beneath our feet. Much more powerfully than a political idea, or an economy, Australia is a physical entity. Where we are defines who we are, in ways we too often forget to our detriment, and the country's.
'Wise, rhapsodic, exalted – Island Home is not just a brilliant, moving insight into the life and art of one of our finest writers, but a compelling investigation into the way our country makes us who we are.' (Publication summary)
Turn home, the sun goes down; swimmer, turn home.
–Judith Wright 'The Surfer'
My island home is waiting for me
'My Island Home'
'Many years ago I read a now forgotten novel by a now forgotten author, which had a truly wonderful preface. It read, simply, this bloody book nearly killed me. I therefore dedicate it, dear Reader, to myself. There is a delicate irony at play, I think, in my long remembering this dedication while the book itself is erased completely from my memory. I’ll touch on the interplay of knowledge and memory in due course. What I want to start by saying, though, is that in my case, as in the case of that forgotten preface’s author, while writing can be a horrifically stressful business - and while writing this paper did indeed feel like it was going to kill me - the Author is emphatically Not Dead.' (Introduction)
'Tim Winton’s Island Home (2015) carries the sub-title ‘A landscape memoir’, and it will not surprise readers of Winton’s fiction that he handles the elastic form of the memoir with novelistic flair. He eschews conventional chronology, arranging a looser narrative mosaic befitting the mode of peripheral perception he celebrates: the power of 'vision beyond mere glimpsing', as he puts it in his earlier essay bearing the same sub-title, ‘Strange passion: a landscape memoir’ (1999). (Introduction)