One of my favourite things to do at Christmas is to immerse myself in a good book. It’s rare that I have the time to settle in for a few hours at a time to read but with all the holiday air travel and sitting around airports, I always find the time at Christmas. Last year I read the excellent Room. This year it was The Riders. The first few chapters of the book, although very well-written and full of vivid descriptions of rural Ireland, were a bit slow and fairly unremarkable. Things start to really get going around page 80 and from this point on the novel is dark, pretty creepy, and anxiety-ridden. I physically felt the anxiety and fear of the main character, whose wife has deserted him. This is my first Tim Winton novel and I was really struck by his ability to use stunningly poetic language to describe places, without bogging the reader down in long boring descriptive paragraphs. Nothing worse than reading an enthralling novel with annoyingly long descriptions that you have to skim! I highly recommend this: the writing is beautiful and there is a layer of compelling mystery that makes you forget just how long you’ve had your nose buried in the book. I’m putting this aside to re-read at some point in the future because in my haste to find out how the story ends, I overlooked several underlying themes, metaphors, and poetic language (I know this from just reading some reviews of the novel). Tim Winton is definitely on my list of authors to check out in the future.
The Riders, by Tim Winton