This highly acclaimed collection of memoirs is Winton’s most intimate and revealing work yet. Along with Island Home and Land’s Edge (both also first published in paperback in 2017), it forms the remarkable culmination of Winton’s autobiographical trilogy, showing our finest novelist also to be one of our finest writers of non-fiction.
‘Being a copper’s son, I’ve always got one eye out for trouble. I can’t help it. But I don’t go looking for it anymore.’
In Tim Winton’s fiction, chaos shapes the lives of his characters. So too Winton’s own life. The extraordinarily powerful true stories that make up The Boy Behind the Curtain take us behind the scenes, revealing the accidents, both serendipitous and traumatic, that have influenced his view of life and fuelled his distinctive artistic vision.
By turns impassioned, funny, joyous, astonishing, this is Winton’s most personal book to date, an insight into the man who’s held us enthralled for three decades and helped us reshape our view of ourselves. Behind it all, from risk-taking youth to surprise-averse middle age, has been the crazy punt of staking everything on becoming a writer.
“A dazzling book, full of wisdom and wonder . . . with a staggering, effortless sense of drama wherever you pick it up . . . No one is better than Tim Winton at giving dramatic substance to the interface between art and life . . . This is a rich and brilliant book.”
Peter Craven, Australian Book Review
“He makes complex art seem simple . . . A body of non-fiction work that is (unsurprisingly) beautiful and brilliant and provocative, and (surprisingly) revealing . . . It is this sight of the sacred in the ordinary that probably accounts for some part of why Winton's writing recedes from his imitators' reach.”
Malcolm Knox, Sydney Morning Herald
“That Winton’s nonfiction is as lyrical as his fiction goes without saying.”
The Guardian (Australia)
“A contemplative book . . . You also reach its end with a particular sense of how this particular man experiences life – metaphorically, philosophically. How he carries things; how he feels them . . . He acknowledges wonder. He acknowledges unknowns. He pays attention . . . A rich book.”
The Weekend Australian
“Both brutally honest and entertaining, The Boy Behind the Curtain is a powerful excavation of those charged moments that make up a life – joyous, traumatic and transformational. All the markers of Winton’s fiction are here: the dark realism, the unflinching eye, the humour and the connection with place . . . An inspirational read.”
“The Boy Behind the Curtain roots you to the spot, forces you to ask questions – about yourself, about the way we live. Sinewy and lyrical by turns, Winton’s is an authentic Australian voice to trumpet to a world audience.”
Morag Fraser, Australian Book Review
“Tim Winton’s 28th book proves the much-loved Australian writer just gets better with age.”
Fellowship of Australian Writers Awards
Winner • 2016 • Excellence in Non Fiction Award
Australian Book Industry Awards
Longlisted • 2017 • Biography Book of the Year
Indie Book Awards
Longlisted • 2017 • Indie Book Awards
National Biography Award
Shortlisted • 2018 • National Biography Award