Tim Winton

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Tim Winton in 2008

Timothy John Winton (born 4 August 1960) is an Australian writer. He has written many novels, as well as children's books, non-fiction books, and short stories.


That Eye, the Sky (1986)[edit]

  • It only takes one thing to make you unhappy.
    • Ch.2 - p.11 [Page numbers per the Penguin Books Australia 1987 paperback edition.]
  • You spend your whole life trying to work out where you fit.
    • Ch.4 - p.25

In the Winter Dark (1988)[edit]

  • Over the years Ida had fattened up. She sort of spread, like a garden gone wild.
    • Ch.3 - p.15 [Page numbers per the 2003 Picador UK paperback edition.]
  • She wished her mouth didn't run on ahead of her so much. Her mouth was never any use to her when she needed it.
    • Ch.6 - p.46
  • "Can you shoot?"
    "I s'pose you mean can I hit anything?"
    • Ch.7 - p.63
  • I should have known earlier to always live like that.
    • Ch.11 - p.109

Cloudstreet (1991)[edit]

  • Sam followed [his father], loved him, listened to him talk. He believed deeply in luck, the old man, though he was careful never to say the word. He called it the shifty shadow of God. All his life he paid close attention to the movements of that shadow. He taught Sam to see it passing, feel it hovering, because he said it was those shifts that governed a man's life and it always paid to be ahead of the play. If the chill of its shade felt good, you went out to meet it like a droughted farmer goes out, arms wide, to greet the raincloud, but if you got that sick, queer feeling in your belly, you had to stay put and do nothing but breathe and there was a good chance it would pass you by. It was as though luck made choices, that it could think. If you greeted it, it came to you; if you shunned it, it backed away.
    • Part 1 - p.8 [Page numbers per the Picador 1992 UK paperback.]
  • She held the needle to the light. It was a wonder how something sharp came down to nothing like that. She looked through the needle's eye. So that's the Kingdom of Heaven, she thought. So that's all there was.
    • Part 3, section 8 - p.53
  • "I only believe in one thing, Les," Sam solemnly uttered. "Hairy Hand of God, otherwise known as Lady Luck. Our Lady, if she's shinin that lamp on ya, she'll give you what you want."
    • Part 4, section 9 - p.101
  • His wife was a good woman, and he understood that. But he remembered what the minister at Margaret River used to say - the good are fierce.
    • Part 5, section 7 - p.150
  • "Hoping is what people do when they're too lazy to do anything else."
    • Part 5, section 19 - p.175
  • The boat sat well in the water, evenly hipped and clean painted. In their rowlocks, the oars knocked and creaked with business. The working, operating feel of things pleased Quick Lamb. There was nothing more warming than the spectacle of something proceeding properly after a due amount of work. He was like that with rifles, with motors, drum reels, or some fancy roadhouse's new flushing toilet. If you didn't know how they worked, then things weren't worth having - something the old girl used to say.
    • Part 6, section 7 - p.218
  • "You've got mean, Oriel."
    She sniffs.
    "It is the war that's done it to you?"
    "It's all war," she said.
    "What is?"
    "I don't know. Everythin. Raisin a family, keepin yer head above water. Life. War is our natural state."
    "Well, struggle maybe," said Lester.
    "No, no, it's war."
    • Part 7, section 3 - p.233
  • Oriel looked at the potatoes in her hand and thought of the things she'd like to tell the spud growers of Australia about taking a little time, a little pride and a little care.
    • Part 7, section 15 - p.266
  • Why was it that he didn't know a thing about the underlying nature of people, the shadows and shifts, the hungers and hopes that caused them to do the things they did?
    • Part 7, section 15 - p.267
  • Sometimes she couldn't think what jerrybuilt frame was holding her together. It wasn't willpower anymore. She'd gone past that lately. She only had will enough to make everything else work, these days. There was never enough left for her. She was like that blessed truck of Lester's, running on an empty sump.
    • Part 7, section 16 - p.274
  • "Ambition, Rose. It squeezes us into corners and turns out ugly shapes."
    • Part 8, section 2 - p.293
  • "It does you good to be tenants. It reminds you of your own true position in the world."
    • Part 10, section 15 - p.416

The Riders (1994)[edit]

  • "It's the saddest sight to see, Scully, a man lettin his own life slip through his hands."
    • Ch.10 - p.68 [Page numbers per the Picador 1995 UK paperback.]
  • But Paris was a black hole, somewhere where Jennifer came hard up against the wall of her limitations while all he could do was stand by and watch.
    • Ch.10 - p.72
  • The also-rans will inherit the earth, the whelps, the meek and the fucking nice, and that's what he can no longer stand.
    • Ch.19 - p.163
  • Maybe old Pete-the-Post was right - you never really know anybody, not even those you loved. People have shadows, secrets.
    • Ch.29 - p.223

Dirt Music (2001)[edit]

  • Another man, an American, had once told her in a high, laughing moment his theory of love. It was magic, he said. "The magic ain't real, darlin, but when it's gone it's over."
    Georgie didn't want to believe in such thin stuff, that all devotion was fuelled by delusion, that you needed some spurious myth to keep you going in love or work or service. Yet she'd felt romance evaporate often enough to make her wonder.
    • Part I, section 1 - p.11 [Page numbers per the Picador 2003 UK imprint.]
  • Jim wanted to fish but he wanted his sons to do something else. He didn't want them to follow the standard White Point trajectory which meant bumping out of school at fifteen to end up in seaboots or prison greens.
    • Part I, section 11 - p.38

Breath (2008)[edit]

  • For all those years when Loonie and I surfed together, having caught the bug that first morning at the Point, we never spoke about the business of beauty. We were mates but there were places our conversation simply couldn't go. There was never any doubt about the primary thrill of surfing, the huge body-rush we got flying down the line with the wind in our ears. We didn't know what endorphins were but we quickly understood how narcotic the feeling was, and how addictive it became; from day one I was stoned from just watching. We talked about skill and courage and luck - we shared all that, and in time we surfed to fool with death - but for me there was still the outlaw feeling of doing something graceful, as if dancing on water was the best and bravest thing a man could do.
    • Ch.4 - p.24-25 [Page numbers per the Picador 2008 UK paperback.]
  • There was always a manic energy about Loonie, some strange hotwired spirit that made you laugh with shock. He hurled himself at the world. You could never second-guess him and once he embarked upon something there was no holding him back. Yet the same stuff you marvelled at could really wear you down. Some Mondays I was relieved to be back on the bus to school.
    • Ch.12 - p.59
  • I suspect I only really liked her because she liked me first.
    • Ch.18 - p.89
  • I knew I'd failed a test whose rules I didn't yet understand.
    • Ch.18 - p.90

The Shepherd's Hut (2018)[edit]

  • Tomorrow'll be a new day. Which is really the same miserable fucking day all over again.
    • Part I, Ch.2 - p.9 [Page numbers per the Picador 2018 UK paperback.]
  • I knew what people thought. Clacktons, we were rubbish. Town like Monkton, one pub, roadhouse, rail silo and twelve streets, half of them empty, small enough everyone heard something and they all had a fucking opinion.
    • Part I, Ch.4 - p.21
  • I shoulda been making proper plans to go right then. But I wasn't. You ever seen a chased rabbit give in running? When he just pulls up and stands there? Like he's out of puff and out of ideas and can't put two moves together anymore? Well that was me. I shoulda been gone already. It was like I was paralysed.
    • Part I, Ch.5 - p.35, 36
  • Honestly, sometimes you'd rather be a dog. A mutt doesn't torture itself with thinking.
    • Part I, Ch.5 - p.37
  • Mum said school mighta been different for me if I only give a damn. Maybe it was wasted on me like the teachers said. I didn't have any philosophy in me then, so I didn't know what to listen for. Most of it was pointless crap. Don't reckon I met a single wise person all the years I stayed but like I say, I wasn't paying close attention. And the thing is I miss it a bit. That's something I never thought I'd hear myself say. I didn't know what I was, what I could do. Except the lame things I did do.
    • Part I, Ch.6 - p.43
  • Thing is, I'm not the surrendering type. Anyway I'm looking up and down that track. It was the highway or the wildywoods. That was the decision. Between something that's real and something you hope is real. I was banking everything on this call and maybe I wasn't fully right in the head by then but I went east. Roll the dice, that's me.
    • Part I, Ch.7 - p.49
  • I wondered what I woulda done if I'd missed that euro. But that was like wondering what your life'd be like if your dad wasn't a douche.
    • Part I, Ch.8 - p.68
  • I didn't even know why I liked her. She was just there. I was used to her.
    • Part I, Ch.9 - p.77
  • And you know someone's special when you never get enough of them.
    • Part I, Ch.9 - p.83
  • Nanna was the first dead person I ever saw. Her hair was blue against the pillow. And when me hand bumped her cheek she was cold and heavy and a kind of spark went through me, like a terrible familiar feeling. And I understood it then. She was meat. That's what dead things are.
    • Part I, Ch.10 - p.98, 99
  • "Sometimes it's a mighty struggle to know what's real and what's just . . . a mirage. You understand?"
    "Yeah," I said.
    • Part II, Ch.1 - p.132
  • "Our stories. We store them where moth and rust destroy. We're precious about them, no? Not because we treasure them at all, but because it's safer to hold them close. Am I reading you right? Do we have that much in common?"
    • Part II, Ch.1 - p.134
  • There isn't one thing in the world hot and hard as knowing there's someone waiting, coming, pressing, wanting you.
    • Part III, Ch.1 - p.199
  • "I suspect that God is what you do, not what or who you believe in. When you do right, Jaxie, when you make good - well, then you are an instrument of God. Then you are joined to the divine, to the life force, to life itself. That's what I believe. That's what I hope for. And it's what I have missed. Think of it this way. When somebody does me a kindness, it enlarges me, adds to my life, you see? And not only mine - it adds to all life."
    • Part III, Ch.3 - p.233
  • Still you can't keep doing the coulda and the woulda and the shoulda. And if there's one thing I know it's this. Doesn't matter how smart you are, or even how careful or lucky, there's some mistakes you just keep making over and over.
    • Part III, Ch.4 - p.238, 239
  • I knew from hunting food the thing you need most of isn't water or ammo, it's patience.
    • Part III, Ch.5 - p.248
  • It's one thing to think someone's stupid. And fair enough if you need them to be. But you can't go banking on it. That's a mug's game.
    • Part III, Ch.5 - p.250

Short stories[edit]

The Turning (2004)[edit]

  • It's a survival thing, making yourself a small target.
    • Short story, 'Big World' - p.10 [Page numbers per the 2006 UK paperback.]
  • "All the big things hurt, the things you remember. If it doesn't hurt it's not important."
    • Short story, 'Abbreviation' - p.26
  • It seemed that these were Joneses who didn't need much keeping up with.
    • Short story, 'Aquifer' - p.39
  • The past is in us, and not behind us. Things are never over.
    • Short story, 'Aquifer' - p.53
  • Though it seemed so beautiful, the world around us was eternally dangerous. The price of spiritual freedom, we learnt, was eternal vigilance. Such a high price for so long.
    • Short story, 'Damaged Goods' - p.60
  • Inside his mother is silent at the stove. Her face is shut down. It's nothing new. The table's set. He washes his hands and, newly protected by his thoughts, settles himself into the silence she's prepared for him. He already knows what his mother thinks. To her, the world is a treacherous place. Nothing lasts. People cheat. They leave. They just up and go. Sooner or later they all bolt and you're left on your own, and the look of reproach she gives him now is but a variation on her whole demeanour, the assumption in every glance, every sigh, every mute chink of cutlery, is that he too will leave her high and dry, just as the old man did three years ago. He's fifteen and it's old news. He feels sorry for her, protective still, but he's had a gutful. He wants her to get over it but he senses that it's beyond her.
    • Short story, 'Cockleshell' - p.116
  • She was sick of conversations with people passing through. Nothing you said to each other mattered a damn because you'd never see them again.
    • Short story, 'The Turning' - p.134

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