In Tim Winton's fiction, chaos waits in the wings and ordinary people are ambushed by events and emotions beyond their control. Winton's own life has also been shaped by havoc. The extraordinarily powerful true stories that make up The Boy Behind the Curtain take us behind the scenes, revealing the accidents, both serendipitous and traumatic, that have influenced his view of life and fuelled his distinctive artistic vision. They show the unexpected links between car crashes and religious faith, between surfing and writing, and how going to the wrong movie at the age of eight opened him up to a life of the imagination. And in writing about class, fundamentalism, asylum seekers, guns and the natural world, he presents not only the concerns that have made him the much-loved writer he is, but some of what unites the life and the work. By turns impassioned, funny, joyous, astonishing, this is Winton's most personal book to date, an insight into the man who's held us enthralled for three decades and helped us reshape our view of ourselves. Behind it all, from risk-taking youth to surprise-averse middle age, has been the crazy punt of staking everything on becoming a writer.