• Cloudstreet, by Tim Winton, is the story of two poor families who share a large, decrepit house in Perth, Western Australia, throughout two decades starting in the World War II years.
• In a ground-floor room of the house, one of the families opens a grocery that becomes a focal point of the neighborhood.
• A short section prior to Chapter 1 describes a group of people having a noisy, happy picnic by a river; an unnamed man leaves the group and joyfully runs to the jetty, where he precariously leans over the river as if he will fall or jump into it.
• Chapter 1 begins with the awareness of a young girl named Rose Pickles that something very bad is going to happen; Rose is sitting near a jetty while her two brothers swim, and her intuition of trouble is like a shadow.
• The family already has lost their house...
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