This is another one of those books you describe with the hackneyed phrase, “I couldn’t put it down.” Although Cloudstreet and Tim Winton have been on the literary scene for some time now, this was my first introduction, and I thoroughly enjoyed it.
Cloudstreet follows the lives of two families, the Pickles and Lambs, as they share a dilapidated old mansion in postwar Perth. For the longest time I thought the oldest Pickles daughter, Rose, was the main character in the story, but as I continued on I realized the title itself held the clue. The main character is the house! In all its creepy, mysterious, groaning, laughing, paint-peeling wonder, the house on Cloudstreet sits above and around all of the people who make their home within. This is a family story of growth, guilt, redemption, and ultimately, happiness, that held my interest page after page. I was especially interested in the latter part of the book when the menace of the serial killer who stalked Perth in the early 1960s formed part of the narrative. Introducing that external threat helped transform the house on Cloudstreet from a creepy, almost haunted venue, to a sheltering fortress of family.
I have since learned about all the awards Tim Winton has won for his work, and after reading Cloudstreet I can readily believe they are deserved.