In The Winter Dark Synopsis
Night falls. In a lonely valley called the Sink, four people prepare for a quiet evening. Then in his orchard, Murray Jaccob sees a moving shadow. Acorss the swamp, his neighbour Ronnie watches her lover leave and feels her baby roll inside her. And on the verandah of the Stubbses’ house, a small dog is torn screaming from its leash by something unseen. Nothing will ever be the same again. (The Nile – Australia)
I like a good thriller, but I find most suspenseful rather than scary per se. The thrillers I find truly scary are the ones that play on common place fears in situations we might all find ourselves in – the ones that really tap into your psyche. In The Winter Dark does just that…
In his novella In The Winter Dark Tim Winton develops an atmospheric tension and sense of foreboding in a literary style.
I found Winton’s imagery startling and was impressed by his ability to pen dialogue. His eclectic troupe of characters are all flawed individuals fighting a battle against unseen (or is it imagined?) forces.
I have these dreams. Dead people, broken people bleed things into you, like there’s some pressure point because they can’t get it out any more, can’t get it told. It’s as though the things which need telling seep across to you in your sleep. Suddenly you have dreams about things that happened to them, not to you, as if it isn’t rough enough holding down your own secrets. I don’t know how it works — I’m no witch-doctor — but I know I remember things I can’t possibly know. I’m not mad. Not yet.
As you can see, this novel is very dark and fuelled by a feeling of impending disaster. While I think Winton developed the suspense and raw scariness very well, there were just a couple of moments in the story that did not quite gel for me as I wanted them to, some paths foreshadowed but not taken. Perhaps that’s all part of the tension – in this case between the author and the reader? Or perhaps I am giving this award winning author undue credit…
A short and accessible thriller for those with literary leanings, best devoured on a dark and rainy afternoon (just like I did).
BOOK RATING: The Story 4 / 5 ; The Writing 4 / 5
* My review of this novel counts towards my participation in the Aussie Author Challenge 2012.
Genre: Drama, Action-Adventure, Mystery, Thriller
Author Information: Tim Winton grew up on the coast of Western Australia, where he continues to live. He is the author of eighteen books. His epic novel Cloudstreet was adapted for the theater and has been performed around the world. His two most recent novels, Dirt Music and The Riders, were both shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. He has won the prestigious Miles Franklin Award three times, and in 1998 the Australian National Trust declared Winton a national living treasure.