'Jerra and his best mate Sean set off in a beaten-up old VW to go camping on the coast. Jerra's friends and family want to know when he will finish university, when he will find a girl. But they don't understand about Sean's mother, Jewel, or the bush or the fish with the pearl. They think he needs a job, but what Jerra is searching for is more elusive. Only the sea, and perhaps the old man who lives in a shack beside it, can help. An Open Swimmer is a remarkable first novel by one of Australia's most loved and respected writers.' (Publication summary)
'Tim Winton's female characters show a strong tendency towards self-threatening behaviors, transience and ferocity. This is evident in the violent deaths of Jewel in An Open Swimmer, Maureen in Shallows, Ida's murder in In the Winter Dark [...], Tegwyn's self-harm in That Eye, the Sky, Dolly's alcoholism in Cloudstreet, Eva Sanderson's Hutchence-lookalike death in Breath and, obviously, the ephemerality of mothers in Dirt Music...' (96)
Explores Tim Winton's treatment of female characters in his fiction and their linkage with images of transience and death.
'What do the artistic works of acclaimed author Tim Winton and eminent Ngarinyin lawman Bungal (David) Mowaljarlai have in common?
'According to Hannah Rachel Bell they both reflect sacred relationship with the natural world, the biological imperative of a male rite of passage, an emergent urban tribalism, and the fundamental role of story in the transmission of cultural knowledge. In Bell's four decade friendship with Mowaljarlai, she had to confront the cultural assumptions that sculpted her way of seeing. The journey was life-changing.
'When she returned to teaching in 2001 Tim Winton's novels featured in the curriculum. She recognised an eerie familiarity and thought Winton must have been influenced by traditional elders to express such an 'indigenous' perspective. She wrote to him. This resulted in 4 years of correspondence and an excavation of converging world views - exposed through personal memoir, letters, paintings and conversations and culminating in Storymen.' (From the publisher's website.)