“Land’s Edge: A Coastal Memoir”
By Tim Winton in 1993
There are books that fall right into your heart. Tim Winton’s Coastal Memoir is one of those. I finished it too fast, like hastily unwrapping a generous gift and dealing with bittersweet hangover afterwards when all secrets are revealed. Luckily a good book can be experienced on many layers, and I’m sure I’ll be revisiting these warm pages again and again. I already am.
Tim Winton is Australian writer and has published twenty-one book for adults and children. Reassuring number if you want to read more of him! Active in the environmental movement, he is the Patron of the Australian Marine Conservation Society. He lives in Western Australia, and Land’s Edge: A Coastal Memoir is and intimate hymn for this region.
“Like Hardy’s Wessex and Faulkner’s Mississippi, the Western Australian landscape has been consecrated in Tim Winton’s fiction,” wrote TLS.
From the inside cover of the book:
“On childhood holidays to the western coast, Tim Winton’s days followed a joyous rhythm. In the mornings, the sun and surf kept him outside, in the water. In the afternoons, as the horizon wobbled with mirages and the wind came in from the ocean, he was driven inside, to books. In the “simple, peculiar shack” that his family borrowed each year there was a small library: a room with four walls of books, a world unto itself.
In this beautifully delicate memoir, Winton writes about his obsession with what happens where the water meets the shore – about diving, dunes, beachcombing – and the sense of being on the precarious, wondrous edge of things that haunts his novels. Its is a book about the ebb and flow that became a way of life, and that shaped one of our finest writers.”
There are many passages that I would love to share, but will limit myself to a couple of paragraphs. About the dangerous side of the sea that you should never forget, but that makes it even more mesmerizing:
“I love the sea but it does not love me. The sea is like the desert in that it is quite rightly feared. The sea and the desert are both hungry, they have things to be getting on with so you do not go into them lightly. Never turn your back on the sea, my father told me when we fished the rocks at Parry Beach or Greenough or Gull Rock. (..)
The ocean is the supreme metaphor for change. I expect the unexpected but am never fully prepared. Suddenly from a mirror-smooth sea, a pod of randy humpbacks starts leaping and crashing around you.”
I you love sea, if your heart belongs to coastal life, this is a must. I’ve already ordered another book by Tim Winton, so will write about him quite soon again.