Tim Winton: Critical Essays, edited by Lyn McCredden and Nathanael O\u27Reilly


[extract] As the editors of Tim Winton: Critical Essays rightly note, literary criticism of Tim Winton’s work has been sparse to date. This observation is supported elsewhere (Rooney, 2009, 159) and by this writer who was at a loss in recent times when seeking critical works that might enrich a feminist reading of Breath (2008). The long overdue volume of critical works in Tim Winton: Critical Essays is therefore a most welcome contribution both to Winton studies and to literary criticism. Critical essays in this volume draw from a wide range of standpoints, critiques and reflections, bringing together a remarkably comprehensive analysis of Tim Winton’s writing. Some contributors note the poetics and aesthetics of Winton’s work; others engage critically with the absences, the contradictions, and the social and historical contexts that form a basis for many of Winton’s narratives. The diversity of critical standpoints expressed in this compilation provides a valuable contribution to the themes raised in Winton’s work. But this is not just a thematic approach to Winton. Some essays offer close textual readings that open up possibilities for a richly nuanced, socio-cultural understanding of the works. Contributions in this volume exemplify how Winton’s works are received and mediated by readers in critical, creative, political and pleasurable ways; some essays bring to bear all of these factors. Analyses are presented through the lens of race, nation, gender, neoliberalism, through the symbolic, psycho-social and metaphysical aspects of Winton’s writing. The strength of this collection of essays, although marked by the divergent analyses of contributors, can also be noted in the way these often contrary standpoints are combined to produce a coherent and critically engaged understanding of Winton’s literary explorations of the locale in Western Australia, its people, and the day-to- day exigencies of their lives

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