Tim Winton is embarrassing to Australian literary critics. It is not that it is impossible to form adequate literary judgements about the nature of his work. It is simply that any judgements one might form seem so totally irrelevant. Winton’s work makes plain a certain disconnect between the interests and imperatives of Australian literary criticism and those of the reading public who buy each of his titles in their hundreds of thousands.
Lyn McCredden has bravely decided to broach this impasse in The Fiction of Tim Winton. The book is published by Sydney University Press, which is slowly filling the role once played by UQP in publishing literary studies of Australian authors. McCredden’s book on Winton joins Robert Dixon’s excellent study of Alex Miller, Nicholas Birns’s astute assessment of contemporary Australian literature, and Brigitta Olubas’s edited collection of essays on Shirley Hazzard, all from Sydney.