I've been putting off writing this review, simply because I'm not sure what to say about Tim Winton's Eyrie now that I've finished it.
Will this be a positive, negative review or a negative, positive review?
I thought if I sat with it for a few days some reviewing inspiration would strike, but it hasn't. I've done some research & read other reviews (which are nothing if not gushing and fawning in nature).
I even found out about Knut Hamsun, a Norwegian Nobel Prize (1920) winning author that Winton referenced a couple of times in Eyrie. Isaac Bashevis Singer says of Hamsun that he was "the father of the modern school of literature in his every aspect—his subjectiveness, his fragmentariness, his use of flashbacks, his lyricism."
Hamsun pioneered the use of stream of consciousness and interior monologue. He was anti-civilisation and often wrote about vagabonds, itinerant strangers & outcasts. Melancholy resignation and loss of youth were other reoccurring themes (thanks Wikipedia & Nobel.org)!
This information was helpful as it was obvious that Winton has written a similar style of novel with Eyrie.
I'm very fond of Tim Winton.
I loved Cloudstreet - enough to reread it a couple of times.
I adored Dirt Music but found the ending over-dramatic.
I loved the scenery and descriptions in Breath and I always enjoy his writing - his ability to make the Australian vernacular sound poetic is praise-worthy indeed!
The language in Eyrie was as compelling as usual. The summer scenes in Fremantle and Perth were authentic and atmospheric, but the angry, lost male was familiar territory and the anti-urban, anti-environmental movement theme felt laboured.
Winton's depiction of class, mining companies and politics were very particular to WA but the class struggle theme is ultimately universal and one that many Australians spend a lot of time denying.
And this time the ending was so undramatic that a week later I can't even remember how it finished up!
To say that I wanted to get Keely by the scruff of his neck and give him a good shake & tell him to wake up to himself was an understatement.
I wanted to send him off to the doctor's for a thorough check-up & book him in to see a good psychologist.
He'd spent his whole life chasing after lost causes and was unable to recognise when his own life was heading down that same road. Tom Keely is a frustrating character, likeable enough beneath the bluster and despair, but so unmotivated and so lacking in personal insight that he makes you want to scream. I kept thinking, he was waiting around for his father to come back and save him from himself somehow.
Eyrie was a frustrating read at times. I kept looking for signs that Keely was going to get some insight into his behaviours or become responsible for his own well-being. I also know that there are no magic wands for the Kai's of this world, but I wanted to feel some hope that he could break the cycle.
I don't need my stories to be wrapped up nicely with a pretty bow and all the loose ends tied up. But I do need a purpose if not a resolution. Insight, growth, change, forward movement, hope....anything but nothing.
There were elements to this book that were rewarding and satisfying, but ultimately it somehow fell flat. The promise was not delivered, the hope was lost, the confusing, bleak, muddle won...but maybe that's the way that Tim Winton wanted it all along.
This post is part of Jenny Matlock's Alphabe-Thursday meme for the letter E.