Cloudstreet by Tim Winton: I read this book while on my cruise last week, therefore I have warm feelings about it, remembering how I sat in the sunshine and soft breezes, warm in the Caribbean sun, reading a good story about Australia.
Two families share a large house on Cloud Street. This is the tale of the inner circles of each family and how they overlap. Individuals experience loss, grief, joy, love, and hate and deal with what life throws at them; the family units deal with the same issues. How they interact and grow and/or fail to grow together is the main theme.
The writing is great! Paragraphs are as short as two sentences or as long as many pages. I love Winton's clever phrasing. Example (not an exact quote)-- 'a breeze stopped the scene from becoming a painting.' Winton is Australian and some of the colloquialisms will be unfamiliar to an average American reader, but it's fun to get a taste of Aussie vernacular and to figure out the gist from context. Or find an Aussie who can help translate!
I gave this book only three stars out of five. I liked it, but sometimes it veered a little into the "unusual," and I wasn't always sure what it meant. With further reading, the loose ends re-connected, however it's a style that I found a tad disconcerting.