Dirt Music Dirt Music by Tim Winton
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Georgie Jutland has drifted into Jim Buckridge’s life. Widowed, he is a thriving fisherman in the Australian coastal town of White Point. Her relationship with his sons is tense and she has never really settled into his home or the wider community. Georgie is looking out the window very early one morning and sees a boat slip into the water to fish illegally. Buckridge and the other residents of White Point detest poachers.

The man in the boat is Luther Fox, formerly a musician but is now a loner since his family were killed in a freak accident. These two isolated individuals are inexorably drawn together and begin an intense affair. The residents of the town are not best known for their tolerance and it is a place of violence and secrets. Their liaison is full of risk and if discovered the danger is immense…

I have only read one of Winton’s books before, the excellent Lands Edge which is a memoir on his life at the coast in Australia, but this was the first foray into his fiction. He has managed to write a really powerful book with some great flawed characters and a tense plot. The writing is stark and sparse, and like the outback is intense and evocative. It has a really good ending too; very cleverly done. Must read some more of his fiction soon.

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