Minimum of Two: Stories

Tim Winton, Author Atheneum Books $14.95 (153p) ISBN 978-0-689-11978-1
Beginning with his first novel, published when he was 21, the Australian author's works have all earned prizes; so too has this memorable collection of 14 stories, which won the Miles Franklin Award. The most intimate and sensitive of the tales center on incidents affecting a young family: Jerra and Rachel Nilsam and their baby Sam. Working their way through crises that imperil their marriage, the prickly couple makes its survival extremely important to the reader. The relationship is particularly at risk in ``Gravity,'' when Jerra takes the little boy on an outing and they return late for a big party where dear friends are gathered. Rachel is cool in her anger; the guests transparently hide their hurt and Jerra can't force himself to ``smooth things over.'' His thoughts are on his father, recently dead, and he realizes the impossibility of explaining the loss. Jerra's loneliness and questions about life end in an ineffably sweet moment that proves love endures and needs no explanation. All the selections are strong and beautifully written, but those about the Nilsams stay longest in one's memory. (May)
Reviewed on: 01/01/1988
Release date: 01/01/1988
Genre: Fiction
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