Eyrie – Tim Winton

Tim Winton is one of my favourite Australian authors and Eyrie is another of his works that I am slowly making my way through. Eyrie tells the story of Tom Keely. His life is a shambles. Divorced, broken, jobless and living off cask wine and prescription medication. His current state is not ideal and he floats through life in a hole his mother and sister try to pull him out of. Everything is turned upside down as he discovers his neighbour is a blast from his past. His past has a young grandson, Kai, and the two develop an unusual relationship that moves towards an urgent climax that affects them all.


A Tim Winton novel that I did not love? I was a little sad that this novel turned out that way for me. As always the prose is hauntingly accurate and his writing is masterful. Passages of this text are jolty and confusing leaving the reader almost with a headache, Winton perfectly putting the reader in the same state as the protagonist, Tom, Not many writers are capable of this but Winton does so perfectly. It certainly isn’t fun or necessarily enjoyable but the reader cannot doubt his skill. This was about the only saving grace in this novel for me.


My issue lies with characters. Tom and Gemma are two of the three focus characters in this novel an I just did not like them. There was not anything particularly redeeming about them. I didn’t actively dislike them as people but their actions were incredibly frustrating. Both of these characters made poor decisions and refused to help themselves, effectively creating their own problems that affected other, more helpless characters within the story. Their lack of grown up actions left me feeling quite frustrated for the duration of the novel. Unfortunately, in a story driven by the intricacies of the characters and not the plot this overtook any other thoughts about this novel. I found it difficult to immerse myself within the novel and enjoy the story.


Winton is still a favourite author of mine and I will continue to make my way through all his novels but this is definitely my least favourite so far. I would recommend this novel if you can look past characters and enjoy a good piece of prose. I can see how others really enjoy this novel, unfortunately for me it just is not my thing. I give Eyrie three of Kai’s birds, the masterful writing does save it somewhat for me.


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