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Cloudstreet
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Introduction

Cloudstreet is a book about finding one's place in the world and the search for meaning in life. From separate catastrophes two rural families flee to the city and find themselves sharing a great, breathing, shuddering joint called Cloudstreet, where they begin their lives again from scratch. For twenty years they roister and rankle, laugh and curse until the roof over their heads becomes a home for their hearts. Tim Winton's funny, sprawling saga is an epic novel of love and acceptance. Winner of the Miles Franklin and NBC Awards in Australia, Cloudstreet is a celebration of people, places and rhythms which has fuelled imaginations world-wide.

 

The book follows the two families from the time they leave their rural homes and move into Cloudstreet, a big, old house in Perth. Both moves are precipitated by disaster. For the Lambs, this misfortune takes the form of the near-drowning of the family favourite, Samson, better known as Fish; for the Pickles, it occurs in the loss of father Sam's fingers in a fishing accident. These mishaps mean that both 'Sams' - like the biblical Samson - lose some of their strengths, but they also gain new opportunities and insights. Sam Pickles's move to the city brings him a home of his own and a job at the mint - a stroke of poetic justice for a man addicted to gambling. Although Fish loses his mental faculties as a result of his accident and is unable to communicate with the outside world, his near-drowning and subsequent bond with water also lead him to a new life as a visionary, and it is this fish who is the omniscient narrator of the novel.

 

The two families are a study in contrasts, 'squared off at one another like opposing platoons'. The Lambs are righteous, God-fearing, hard working and parsimonious while the Pickles are licentious wastrels. The Lambs find meaning in industry and in God's grace; the Pickles, in luck. The Lambs' God is a maker of miracles; the Pickles' God is the 'Shifty Shadow' of fate. Both families are often betrayed by their faith.

(Penguin, 2015)

Cloudstreet

Showcase Australia. (2011, March 29). Tim Winton's Cloudstreet - official trailer [Video file]. Retrieved from https://youtu.be/xQMOa7vXRjY

Biography

Australian Literature 101: Tim Winton: Cloudstreet

Study Guide

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