Tim Winton – Dirt Music

Yr. 12 English Studies

Individual Study

Brief Overview of story

“So what did you play?”
”I mean, what kind of music?”
”Oh, I dunno. All kinds, I spose. Anything you could play on a veranda. You know, without electricity. Dirt music.”

Dirt Music is the story of three people – Georgie Jutland, a forty year old retired nurse who surfs the net and appreciates her vodka. Jim Buckridge, Georgie’s lover, who is a successful fisherman and the “uncrowned prince” of White Point; and Luther Fox, the unluckiest outcast in the White Point who is grieving the loss of his entire family and poaching lobster pots.

Georgie first notices Luther Fox one early morning when he’s poaching. By coincidence, she breaks down on the road out of town and Luther Fox is the person who drives by and helps her. The back of his truck is filled with iced down with illegal fish and lobster. An instant attraction develops and during their affair, the tragic circumstances regarding the death of Fox’s family comes out. Of course, White Point is a small town, therefore knowledge of the affair become local news before it has even really begun. Jim Buckridge gets wind of the affair, and since he’s the “uncrowned prince” and Fox is the bad luck charm, Fox is forced out of the town

Tim Winton has a great talent in describing his characters. Besides Georgie, Jim and Luther, we are introduced to a huge array of colourful people. There is Beaver, the White Point auto mechanic who marries the Asian mail-order bride. We also meet Georgie’s younger sisters – Ann, Judith and Margaret – all who look at Georgie as their “wild, tomboy” sibling- “it was the shopping that finally cut Georgie off from the other Jutland women.” Then there is Rusty, the morphine-addict, one-legged surfer, who gave Luther a ride to Wittenoon, a deserted mining town. Each of these separate characters could have a separate book written about them but Winton only tantalizes us with a little taste of what could have been.

Why This Book?

I chose this book because it is rated as one of Australia’s one hundred favourite books. People with a lot of English knowledge and background recommended the book; they all believed that Winton was a very appropriate author for an individual study. Another reason why I chose this book is because of the theme of the blurb. It is vague in describing the book yet it leaves a mysterious thought in the back of your mind making you want to read on to find out what happens. On the back cover of the book are reviews, all of which agree that this book is well written and presented. The theme of the blurb covers topics that I am keen to use when comparing with my next book Fight Club by Chuck Palahniuk.


White Point:

This book is set in a small town called White Point, a small fishing town that was nothing until the crayfish boom. The town is situated around three hours from Perth. The town was in the beautiful surrounding of sand dunes and a small lagoon, which leads out to the Indian Ocean, but the houses of the cray-fisherman were ugly and odd looking. “Nowadays rich fisherman built pink brick villas and concrete slab bunkers that made their fathers’ hovels look pretty.” Somehow the fisherman built their houses as a “trophy of their wealth” and definitely not for looks “like the civilised people would do.” White Point people are much uncivilized; they still base their lives on the 1950’s style where an argument is settled in a punch up with the two men shaking hands afterwards like nothing had ever happened. It is safe to say White Point people are a little rough around the edges. Before the crayfish boom they were simple people trying to make a living. They were rough with language, and especially on the treatment of women. The only thing that changed after the boom was that “the law came to the town.”

Coronation Gulf:

Coronation Gulf is situated off the west coast of Western Australia. It is a small group of islands that Georgie got stranded on when sailing