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‘This country leans in on you. Like family. To my way of thinking, it is family.’

The natural world, in Tim Winton’s novels, is as much a living presence as any character, and what is true of his work is true of his life. From boyhood, his relationship with sea, scrub and swamp has been as vital as blood relations. The country has seeped into him, with its rhythms, its dangers, its strange sustenance.

This is the story of how that relationship came to be, and also a passionate exhortation for all of us to feel the ground beneath our feet. Much more so than any political idea, the physical entity of Australia defines us, in ways we too often forget. Wise, rhapsodic, exalted, Island Home is a beautiful, evocative, sometimes provocative, investigation of how the land makes us who we are.

Reviews

Tim Winton’s delicately meandering new collection of writing about place and being again raises literature’s repeated assertion: in the face of the ineffable the only valid response is an aesthetic one . . . Island Home is a beautiful example of that aesthetic response to the glory and the mystery of nature.

William Yeoman, The West Australian

Winton’s love letter to the vast island continent which has spawned all he has written . . . He gives praise to its grandeur in words as John Olsen and Emily Kngwarreye have done in paint . . . Winton’s Australia is teeming and brimming and shrieking and squawking with life.

Rick Feneley, Sydney Morning Herald

Like Wordsworth, he understands and feels the “abiding power” of certain places . . . The writer of memoir can be triumphantly personal, quixotic, eccentric, risky, and daring. In Island Home, Winton is all of these. This most exquisite of prose writers eases stylistic discipline out a notch or two . . . The last chapter of this inspiring, sometimes painfully frank, wonderful memoir is called “Paying Respect”, and . . . its clarion call is Blakean: everything that lives is holy.

Brian Matthews, Australian Book Review

Winton embraces everything that is good, bad and ugly about this continent and his commitment is contagious.

The Herald Sun

Island Home is thus part political manifesto that presents a profound challenge to traditional rural conservatism as well as to the right in general. Conservatives say they love their country. Winton lays bare how very destructive of it some of their actions have been.

Tim Flannery, The Monthly

An often lyrical blending of the intensely personal and the deeply polemic . . . Winton’s final, most eloquently trenchant piece, “Paying Respect” . . . pleads for a real understanding of our place in the world, for an acknowledgment of scale: it is no coincidence that the cover of this beautiful and heartfelt book shows us as tiny scratches beside the frilled immensity of the curling tide.

Katharine England, The Advertiser (Adelaide)

Tim Winton’s Island Home isn’t memoir, it’s a cultural call to arms . . . Winton remains one of the finest place-painters in Australian literature.

Jamie Hanson, The Guardian (Australia)

I’ve always boggled at his ability to create sentences as clear and familiar as Australian air, through which the landscape feels incandescently present. His fiction and non-fiction characteristically offer a keen intelligence coupled with an intransigent refusal of academic modes of thought . . . and a visceral feeling for the coastal West, made more intense for its marriage with the plain domestic detail or ordinary lives. Those same qualities shine through Island Home.

Delia Falconer, The Age

Makes clear Winton’s greatest talent: his keen vision for what lies underneath the land’s surface, the storied history a layer below.

Weekend Australian

Insightful and vibrant . . . In part a love song to Australia . . . Winton conveys a searing sense of honesty . . . A delight to read.

Katharine Norbury, The Guardian (UK)

Reads like a love letter to the beautifully wild and raw landscape that has informed so much of his work. As you’d expect from Winton, Island Home is teeming with stunning prose . . . A beautiful, compelling read.

Tessa Connelly, Canberra Weekly

An exquisite book that functions as literary memoir, nature writing, and environmentalist’s creed . . . Like Seamus Heaney’s and Ted Hughes’s, Winton’s language feels a product of the land, and the natural way to celebrate it.

James McNamara, The Spectator (UK)

A masterclass in how place can be brought to book.

Michael Kerr, The Telegraph (UK)

In this memoir, Winton takes on an altogether different tone from Cloudstreet, alternating academic discourse on Australian history, geology, politics and environmentalism, with gorgeous personal commentary on his experiences growing up, moving away, and coming home. He uses it as a frame for an erudite and passionate discussion of the importance of landscape and the natural world. . . . his writing soars with a love of the strange beauty of the landscape.

The Oxonian Review (UK)

[A] love letter to nature . . . Each of the places he takes us in Island Home hints at a different aspect of his own nature . . . Winton’s unique alliance with nature allows him to become a mouthpiece for the strange temperament and volatile charm of an enormous island continent.

Listener (NZ)

Island Home is a powerful and poetic read, an expression of his intense love of the land and the sea, and for Australia’s unique flora and fauna.

Weekend Herald (NZ)

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780143574095

    May 15, 2017

    Penguin

    256 pages

    RRP $30.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • Hardback

    9781926428741

    September 23, 2015

    Hamish Hamilton Australia

    256 pages

    RRP $45.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook

    9781760142230

    September 23, 2015

    Penguin eBooks

    256 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ

Awards and Recognition

  • Colin Roderick Award
    2015
    Shortlisted
    Colin Roderick Award
  • Australian Book Industry Awards
    2016
    Winner
    General Non-fiction Book of the Year
  • Fellowship of Australian Writers Awards
    2016
    Highly commended
    Excellence in Non-Fiction
  • Indie Award
    2016
    Longlisted
    Non-Fiction
  • NSW Premier's Literary Awards
    2016
    Shortlisted
    Douglas Stewart Prize for Non-Fiction
  • Prime Minister's Literary Awards
    2016
    Shortlisted
    Prime Minister's Literary Award
  • Queensland Literary Award
    2016
    Shortlisted
    The University of Queensland Non-fiction Book Award