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Literature / Cloudstreet

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Cloudstreet is a historical novel with elements of Magical Realism by Australian author Tim Winton. It follows the lives of two families, the Lambs and the Pickles, throughout a twenty-year span from 1943 to 1963.

Cloudstreet provides examples of:

  • Born Unlucky: Sam Pickles spends a good thirty years wasting money at the races, and consistently loses it all.
  • But Liquor Is Quicker: The first time Rose Pickles and Quick Lamb hook up, they are both drunk.
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  • Came Back Wrong
  • Catchphrase: "The knife never lies!"
  • Dad the Veteran: Lester Lamb was in the army during WWI... as the cook.
  • Don't You Dare Pity Me!!: Rose, mostly. For instance, after one particularly drunken episode on Dolly's part, Oriel takes it upon herself to go and clean the Pickles side of the house. When Rose comes home to see it, "her eyes fatten up with tears, fury, shame". She then slams her door and starts destroying her room.
  • Earthy Barefoot Character: The mysterious Aboriginal guy who keeps showing up is often barefoot.
  • Guilt Complex: Quick Lamb coats his bedroom wall in "misery pictures".
  • Lady Drunk: Dolly Pickles is renowned for the time she spends down the pub.
  • Magical Negro: There is one Indigenous black guy in the whole story who is strongly implied to be magical in some way. He spends twenty years performing miracles and bringing the two main (white) families together.
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  • Must Make Amends: Quick.
  • My Greatest Failure: Fish's drowning, for various characters.
  • Parental Favoritism: Explicitly stated. Ted is Dolly's favourite son, and Fish was Oriel's before he half-drowned.
  • Really Gets Around: ...also Dolly Pickles. Sam puts up with it.
  • Sexless Marriage: In contrast, Oriel Lamb spends most of the book sleeping by herself in a tent in the backyard. This is lampshaded by Quick.
Oriel: "'Do I lie?'
[Quick:] 'No.'
'Do I cheat?'
'Well, I'll have to check on that with the neighbours. I reckon the tent's a dubious sign.'"
  • Simpleton Voice
  • Unwanted Revival: Fish is not happy about being brought back from the edge of death, and spends the rest of his life trying to get back to the water.


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