Book Review: In the Winter Dark by Tim Winton

Amazon.com: In the Winter Dark (9780330412599): Winton, Tim: Books

Title: In the Winter Dark

Author: Tim Winton

Genre: Literary Fiction

Number of Pages: 110

Rating: B+

Recommended?: Yes


My second book by Tim Winton (after Breath,) In the Winter Dark is a strange and beautifully written book about paranoia, isolation, and regret. The story centers around four people who live in the Middle of Nowhere, Australia- a pregnant drug addict (Ronnie,) an elderly couple (Ida and Murray,) and a retired loner (Maurice.) Ronnie’s been abandoned by her boyfriend and Maurice takes her in after she takes hallucinogens and collapses near his property.

All of these characters are tormented to a certain extent and their livestock is slaughtered by a creature that’s both real and metaphorical in a sense. One of the men believes the creature is a large feral cat and all the characters also have guilt-ridden memories involving cats, with Murray’s being the most horrific and sordid. It’s a bizarre premise for a book but Tim Winton does such a great job developing his characters in just over a hundred pages.

I didn’t like most of them (all of them except for Ida were more or less unredeeming train wrecks) but they were also so sharply written that I felt like I knew them. I didn’t know until right when I started my review that it was made into a movie with Brenda Blethyn and Miranda Otto, and I’d be interested to see how it was adapted. The book is filled with vivid imagery and atmosphere, with a sense of dread that only heightens as the story progresses. I didn’t like it quite as much as Breath but both books are obvious displays of Tim Winton’s talent and I’m interested in becoming further acquainted with his writing.

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