Set in the fictitious Western Australia town of White Point, Dirt Music centres around the humdrum life of Georgie Jutland. Her days are spent caring for a family that she knows she’ll never be a part of and her nights are spent in an alcohol induced haze. Her life has been much the same for the last 3 years, when she first met Jim Buckridge – king in all but title, of White Point. He is a lobster fisherman (as most men are in this town) with two small boys and and a hole inside him left by the death of his wife. Even Georgie herself knows that she will never be able to fill that hole, but still she stays, for reasons known only to herself. But a spanner is thrown into the works of Georgie’s life when she comes across Luther Fox – a social outcast with a past full of sadness and a future with not exactly the rosiest of outlooks. The meeting of these two people will change the lives not only of them, but also Jim, as he tries to come to grips with his own past.
Winton’s style of writing brought to mind that of Cormac McCarthy in The Road – conversations were not punctuated and you always had the feeling that there was a big moment about to happen on the next page, though it wasn’t always the case. The book flowed along beautifully with just enough excitement thrown in, but the best thing about the book (for me anyway) was the wonderfully descriptive writing. I’ve read a few books recently that have been set in Australia, but this one smells like Australia and I don’t mean the book literally smells like Australia. I mean that the writing takes you to the ocean and the red, dusty outback. The imagery is so vivid that you can see the locations and hear the sounds as if you were there. Winton has clearly spent a lot of time in the location he has written about – enough time to be able to give a truly honest account of it. The characters are disturbingly real and I am positive that there is more than one person that will read this book and see a little bit of themselves in the pages.
Overall, a wonderful book that might leave you a little bit empty at the end, but which allows you to draw your own conclusions and make of it what you will.
RATING – 9 out of 10 – I’m not a huge fan of endings that just stop, but everything else about this book was amazing.
WHO SHOULD READ IT – If you need definite closure in a book, then this might not be for you, but otherwise I think that most people would enjoy reading this.
WHO YOU’LL LOVE – Luther Fox was probably my favourite. He doesn’t live life quite like the rest of us.