''I grew up on the world's largest island.'
'This apparently simple fact is the starting point for Tim Winton's beautiful, evocative and sometimes provocative memoir of how this unique landscape has shaped him and his writing.
'For over thirty years, Winton has written novels in which the natural world is as much a living presence as any character. What is true of his work is also true of his life: from boyhood, his relationship with the world around him – rockpools, seacaves, scrub and swamp – was as vital as any other connection. Camping in hidden inlets of the south-east, walking in the high rocky desert fringe, diving at Ningaloo Reef, bobbing in the sea between sets, Winton has felt the place seep into him, with its rhythms, its dangers, its strange sustenance, and learned to see landscape as a living process.
'Island Home is the story of how that relationship with the Australian landscape came to be, and how it has determined his ideas, his writing and his life. It is also a passionate exhortation for all of us to feel the ground beneath our feet. Much more powerfully than a political idea, or an economy, Australia is a physical entity. Where we are defines who we are, in ways we too often forget to our detriment, and the country's.
'Wise, rhapsodic, exalted – Island Home is not just a brilliant, moving insight into the life and art of one of our finest writers, but a compelling investigation into the way our country makes us who we are.' (Publication summary)
Turn home, the sun goes down; swimmer, turn home.
–Judith Wright 'The Surfer'
My island home is waiting for me
'My Island Home'
'Taking as a starting point the metaphor of the palimpsest, this essay explores Winton’s sense of being Australian in his 2015 landscape memoir Island Home. Sarah Dillon’s distinction between the palimpsestic and the palimpsestuous, which draws on Foucault’s own differentiation between the workings of archaeology and genealogy respectively, provides the wider frame. A palimpsestic reading of Island Home along the lines of Abraham and Torok’s reflections on mourning and loss, more specifically their theory of the psychic crypt, throws light on Winton’s “inexpressible mourning” (Abraham and Torok 130) for the loss of an unshaken pre-apology Australianness. Complementarily, a palimpsestuous approach to the text evinces the emergence, among the traces of white nationalism, of a new pattern in Winton’s latest additions to his palimpsest of a nation in Island Home. Read horizontally rather than vertically, Winton’s book reveals an interest in what he calls “an emotional deepening” (168), a new sense of relatedness that acknowledges the damage done to the Indigenous population at the same time that it honours the contribution of the rightful inhabitants of Australia to the current national narrative, creating, in this way, possible openings for non-Indigenous belonging.'
'Jessica White examines eco-memoir in two examples: Tim Winton's Island Home (2015) and Kim Scott's and Hazel Brown's Kayang and Me (2005). She explores how memory can describe the loss of an environ-ment but also promote its recovery, and the implications for each writer's identity. Her chapter argues that, alongside science, literary expressions of memory have an important role to play in raising awareness of the sustainable use and protection of our environment.'
Source: Introduction (p.6).
'Many years ago I read a now forgotten novel by a now forgotten author, which had a truly wonderful preface. It read, simply, this bloody book nearly killed me. I therefore dedicate it, dear Reader, to myself. There is a delicate irony at play, I think, in my long remembering this dedication while the book itself is erased completely from my memory. I’ll touch on the interplay of knowledge and memory in due course. What I want to start by saying, though, is that in my case, as in the case of that forgotten preface’s author, while writing can be a horrifically stressful business - and while writing this paper did indeed feel like it was going to kill me - the Author is emphatically Not Dead.' (Introduction)
'Tim Winton’s Island Home (2015) carries the sub-title ‘A landscape memoir’, and it will not surprise readers of Winton’s fiction that he handles the elastic form of the memoir with novelistic flair. He eschews conventional chronology, arranging a looser narrative mosaic befitting the mode of peripheral perception he celebrates: the power of 'vision beyond mere glimpsing', as he puts it in his earlier essay bearing the same sub-title, ‘Strange passion: a landscape memoir’ (1999). (Introduction)