First Person

Dancing on the Far South Coast

Like many other characters in Australian fiction, Bruce Pike, in Tim Winton’s Breath, is a loner, brought up in a country town of limited opportunities in Western Australia in the 1980s, “a town of millers and loggers and dairy farmers”, where “men did solid, practical things, mostly with their hands”. Pike reacts against the dullness but the novel is less typical in spelling out, through hindsight, what the town lacks: “beauty”, “grace” and “style”: “I couldn’t have put it into words as a boy … or cared … There wasn’t much room for beauty in the lives of our men.”…

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