Paige Gibbs adapted Cloudstreet into a radio play in 1996 for ABC Radio National.
Unit Suitable For
AC: Year 12 (English Unit 3)
Australian identity, belonging, community, faith, family, fate, fear, love, nostalgia, spirituality
Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Information and communication technology, Intercultural understanding, Literacy, Personal and social
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.
'This article explores the ethical concept of the neighbour, an idea central to the fiction of Tim Winton. The first part focuses on how the ghosts in Cloudstreet symbolize an Australian culture haunted by the injustices of colonization, especially the dispossession of the Indigenous people. The second part looks at the paradox of being commanded to love one’s neighbour, comparing an early story, “Neighbours”, to Winton’s recent novel Eyrie. The third part looks at Winton’s ethics of neighbourliness in light of recent critical reworkings of this concept by Slavoj Žižek and Kenneth Reinhard. Central to this section is the importance of time and place to the ethics of the neighbour, in particular the repeated insistence by both Winton and his critics that, rather than focusing on the past, we should acknowledge the neighbour who stands before us in the here and now.' (Introduction)
'In their introduction to the book Phantom Past, Indigenous Presence, Colleen E. Boyd and Coll Thrush recall the recurring nature of the ‘Indian burial ground’ (vii) cliché in popular culture. As Boyd and Thrush see it, the Aboriginal burial ground as the rationale for a piece of land being uncanny or haunted has become ‘a tried-and-true element of the cultural industry’ (vii). Boyd and Thrush argue that possessed, sacred Aboriginal territory or the ‘Indian uncanny’ (ix) remains one of the most common explanations for the supernatural attributes of a house or other physical site in texts produced in ‘settler colonies’ (Ashcroft 133) such as Australia, Canada, and the United States, ‘[w]hether . . . the haunted house down the dirt lane, the spectral woods behind the subdivision or the seemingly cursed stretch of highway up the canyon’ (Boyd vii).' (Introduction)
'Doris Bachmann-Medick maintains that the period since the 1970s has seen a series of “cultural turns”, that is, theoretical and cultural reorientations, which have “shifted perspectives, introduced new focuses and, as a result, opened previously unexamined cross-disciplinary fields of inquiry” (1). One such turn is the constitution of the postcolonial theory of culture, which has “shed light on the power of hegemonic cultures to shape discourse while illuminating the increasingly autonomous self-representation of previously marginalized societies, ethnic groups and literatures” (Bachmann-Medick 132).' (Introduction)
'The psychology of guilt as debt is a recurrent theme in Tim Winton’s fiction. A number of scholars have recently examined the theme of haunting in Winton’s Cloudstreet (1991), arguing that the ghosts which appear in the story represent an engagement with Australia’s colonial past, in particular the mistreatment of its Indigenous peoples. The latest of these, Michael R. Griffiths, highlights the shortcomings of Winton’s treatment of this theme, contending that Winton’s text might be read as a kind of excuse, in the name of naïveté, for colonial abuses. Given that Nicholas Birns (among others) has noted a new maturity in Winton’s work from The Turning (2004) onward, a fresh examination of such themes in Winton’s work is warranted. This essay does so through a reading of the short story ‘Aquifer’. Examining the story’s treatment of the psychology of guilt and debt, the essay explores how Winton tries to resolve the moral and historical problems he raises in regard to Australian culture through the ethical figure of the neighbour, drawn in particular from the biblical parable of the Good Samaritan. By showing the centrality of the neighbour to Winton’s work through references to In the Winter Dark (1988), Cloudstreet, Breath (2009), ‘Aquifer,’ and a newspaper editorial by Winton on the humanitarian treatment of refugees, this paper seeks to provide a new critical window through which to understand his evolving ethical ideas about Australia’s past and future.'
'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.)