Land's edge by Tim Winton is his memoir of his experience growing up on the Western Australian coast. This book touched me like the majority of Tim Winton's books touch me. His way with words and the way he describes the places where I spent my evenings and weekends as a 16-year-old schoolgirl touches my heart and makes me yearn for those clear waters and white sandy beaches with Rottnest Island and the container ships on the horizon. This book is beautiful, and If you're already a Winton fan you won't be disappointed with this read. And if you're not already a fan, this will probably make you one. My only dislike about this book is it is far too short - only 113 pages long!!! :(
The entire first chapter makes me smile with fondness and nostalgia as he describes my second home. I won't include the entire chapter but I really want to include some bits just to show you how truly special and utterly beautiful this man's writing is, along with some photos of the places he's talking about.
"Because in my memory of childhood there is always the smell of bubbling tar, of Pinke Zinke, the briny smell of the sea. It is always summer and I am on Scarborough Beach, blinded by light, with my shirt off and my back a map of dried salt and peeling sunburn. There are waves cracking on the sandbar and the rip flags are up"
FYI: See photo below - that is Scarborough beach (my friend Beth and I in 2007)...a little different to the Scarborough beach in the UK! And 'Pinke Zinke' is that really thick sunscreen you smear on your face to stop you getting burnt.
"...Out there is west, true west. The sea is where the sun goes at the end of the day, where it lives while you sleep"
This is the WA sunset, photo taken on our Beach...
"...As a kid I recognized that life, embraced it and made it my own. In sight of the sea I felt as though I had all my fingers and toes. I was relaxed and confident. At the beach I wasn't just passive, letting life happen to me; I didn't care about being smart or popular, I didn't long to be better looking. The sea swallowed up all my primary school anxieties"
The quote above is my favourite...it is exactly how I feel about the Western Australian ocean.
"...The sun on my back was like a blush of recognition, and in the rare moments I was still, I sat and stared towards Rottnest Island, at the wild glitter that bucked and swayed without resisting"
You can just about see Rottnest on the horizon in-between the two ships.This photo was taken from Cottesloe Beach. I can't find any photos that I took during the daytime where you can see Rotto :(
"...In the afternoons I could smell the Fremantle Doctor coming in across the treetops, stirring the curtains and the copper-boiled washing. It came as a sweet relief, cool and merciful, and at night as it moderated to a gentle breeze it brought the coast upon it in the scents of brine and seagrass. The pounding of the swell against the lands edge was so clear it seemed the sea was only a dune away. I didn't need a map to know where I was. In the atlas I lived in a dot, but with that breeze on my back I had a life and a place."
FYI: The 'Fremantle Doctor' is what we call the afternoon breeze that comes in off the Ocean. Fremantle is a harbour town on the Ocean just outside Perth.In the summer months we always long for the afternoon breeze - if you don't have air-con you keep the whole house shut up with all the curtains drawn in the morning, and then as soon as the Fremantle Doctor comes in you open everything up, open all the doors and let the cool air rush in!
"Perhaps I go beachcombing simply to keep the sea in view. Where I live, if I don't see the ocean every day, even I it's just the eight a.m. ritual of rolling by the jetty for a minute where everyone in the town seems to gather before work to see the state of things, then I become restless and anxious...I'm the kind of driver who goes the long way in order to cop a look at the beach, just a peek between the Norfolk pines, past the spine of a built-up hill."
This is the type of 'built-up hill' Winton is talking about...where you can just glimpse the Ocean.
You can buy Land's Edge at Amazon.