Sometimes Tim Winton blows me out of the water with his writing. Other times I’m left scratching my head in bewilderment and bewutherment (thanks Bilbo).
However The Boy Behind the Curtain definitely falls into the OMG I love this man and his writing to bits camp.
I savoured each and every essay in this book. Most were deeply personal and memoir-ish in style, while others were more factual as Winton described his passion for environmental issues and gave us some insights into the writing process.
Perhaps the secret of Winton’s writing is how he gives his personal stories universal meaning. He taps into the emotional base or the psychological truth behind the life story so that it resonates with us all.
Reading about some of the random chaos that the young Tim was a party to during his childhood with a policeman as a father, shows us how the strong desire that grew in him to create meaning, find patterns, draw parallels, to find security in words, actually grew out of this often unsafe, accident prone world.
Winton is at his strongest when discussing the environment. I have never been attracted to surfing, but after reading The Wait and the Flow, I almost felt tempted to have a go! His essay on Ningaloo Reef was also insightful and passionate.
The Boy Behind the Curtain is a book to dip into and to relish one story; one essay at a time.