By Tim Winton

Printed: 1991

Publisher: Pan Books. London

Edition: First edition

Dimensions 17 × 24 × 4 cm

Language: English

Size (cminches): 17 x 24 x 4

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In the original dustsheet. Black cloth binding with silver title on the spine.

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‘A fragmented, hilarious, crude, mystical soap opera. In a rich Australian idiom, Winton lets his characters rip against an evocation of Perth so intense you can smell it’ Sunday Telegraph Cloudstreet — a broken-down house of former glories on the wrong side of the tracks, a place teeming with memories of its own, a place of shudders and shadows and spirits. From separate catastrophes, two families flee to the city and find themselves sharing this great sighing structure and beginning their lives again from scratch. Together they roister and rankle in a house that begins as a roof over their heads and becomes a home for their hearts. In this fresh, funny novel, full of wonder and dreams, Tim Winton weaves the threads of lifetimes, of twenty years of shouting and fighting, laughing and grafting, into a story about acceptance and belonging. ‘Imagine Neighbours being taken over by the writing team of John Steinbeck and Gabriel Garcia Marquez and you’ll be close to the heart of Winton’s impressive tale’ Time Out

Review:  Wonderful story of life in Western Australia at the end of the 2nd world war.Two families who have both suffered in some way come together to live in a large ramshackle old house which was bequeathed to one of them to learn how to live together. Sam Pickles was a soft kind hearted guy who believed in the ‘ hairy hand of fate’ and in all respects was a gambler believing that luck was with you or not and you had to accept whatever fate threw at you. One morning when he was working on a boat and not paying attention he lost his hand and so lost his job and livelihood. He and his daughter Rose feature quite significantly in ‘Pickles’ side of the story and Rose was probably the only one who truly understood and cared for him. But she loses faith in him when he almost ruins the family. Dolly Pickles finds Sam impossible and is thoroughly depressed with her life and wants out desperately. She takes up drinking and uses the men she finds in the bars to make up for her non-existent sex life with Sam. So when one of Sam’s fishing partners dies and leaves him a house in a distant part of Perth they all feel they’ve been given a second chance.

The other family, the Lambs, were completely different from the Pickles’, being firm believers in God and the healing power of hard work. The Pickles took them in as tenants in half the house as A way of earning a living. But Dolly bitterly resents the Lambs, particularly Oriel, the mother, presumably because she works hard, organises her family and rules them with a rod of iron. She starts a shop in the house and its a resounding success. It’s all down to her and her husband, Lester doesn’t feature very strongly at all. Oriel blames him for the accident that Fish, one of their two boys suffers when out fishing one evening. The boy nearly dies but worse, he lives and is brain damaged but it is Quick, his brother, who shoulders the guilt for his brother’s misfortune which follows him most of his life. It really is a kind of everyday soap opera but streaked with poetry, pathos and joy. It keeps you page turning for hour after hour.

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