Still breathing

When people ask me what I think about Tim Winton's books, I always answer that he writes incredibly beautiful landscapes. He really, really does.

But for me, like many women I know, Winton's books are difficult to read, because his portrayals of women tend to paint them as either prudish or damaged. The men and boys in his stories - always coming of age it seems - are much more complex and nuanced characters, but his women and girls are simple, borderlining on tropes.

I'm not suggesting Winton doesn't like women though! He talks often about the women in his life, and how his sisters taught him to surf. Winton knows and loves women well, it's just that this doesn't seem to translate into his stories, which makes it difficult for me to read them, let alone like them.

With the release of the film version of Breath, directed by Simon Baker, all of this was driven home even more strongly. 

Here is a story about men, in which women are trouble or bit players, used to move the men's stories forward, rather than to be stories of their own. Given the amount of visibility of Eva in this clip, it's hard for me to expand on that much without giving the story away, which I won't do. 

I will definitely go and see this film. The cinematography look incredible and I'm sure the film is captivating. And I think Tim Winton is a beautiful writer, especially when it comes to landscapes that really resonate with me. But I do also think... this is another surfing film about white boys and men, coming of age. 

Or not, as the case may be. 


  1. I liked the book. Obviously I didn't pay attention to what your saying and I trust you it is like that. In fact I can say that I don't remember females characters at all!
    I can only say that if I were to write something about, or inspired by my youth, girls would be just unknown, attractive, untouchable aliens.
    But if I were to be a writer then I'd try harder! :)


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