Tim Winton on Blueback, Ningaloo, and 40 Years of Writing

Tim Winton recalls a recent moment when he took his elderly mother to the beach to help her into the water. His mother had been a swimming teacher when she was younger, but now she was too frail to swim alone. As Winton and his wife held his mother in the ocean, they were both acutely aware that this was a scene that Winton had imagined and put on paper more than 20 years earlier.

In one of the most moving scenes in Winton’s 1997 novel Blueback, the protagonist Abel cradles his elderly mother in the water she loves. “We come from the water,” the mother whispers to her son. We belong to her, Abel.

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