Fate and the Little Guy

Politicians looking for a hotline to Middle Australians, the battlers whose dreams and disappointments can determine an election, need look no further than the 17 short stories of Tim Winton's The Turning (Picador; 317 pages). In this trailer park of a collection, characters move from the suburbs to the coast and back again, serial sea-changers in a state of transcontinental drift. There's caravan dweller Raelene, beaten senseless by her craypot-lugger husband, who looks for God between the bruises (The Turning). And teen tomboy Agnes, who spends her evenings wading the shallows for catfish after her drunken father is laid off from...

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