April 15, 2014
The title of Tim Winton’s 2001 novel Dirt Music reveals one of the central binaries at work within: Dirt, or place, presence, nature on the one hand, and Music, or emotions, past, culture on the other. Dirt Music, set in Western Australia, revolves around the love story between Georgie Jutland and Lu(ther) Fox. Lu, a folk guitarist, retreats from society after the tragic death of his family, who also formed his band. During his stay in the deserted North Australian coastal region, he experiments with the possibilities of living - and making music - outside of cultural constraints. The emphasis in this paper will be on how the two factors of dirt and music interplay within the construction of his identity. The novel proposes a perspective on music that eventually offers a reconciliation of the alienation of man’s identity between nature and culture.