Thursday, July 20, 2006

Patrick White - a writer worth reading

In the early 1970s when I knew I was going to be migrating with my Aussie husband to Australia, I started to arm myself with information about the place. Back then people did not know a hell of a lot about Australia. You've all heard the stories about people mixing up Australia and Austria? When I introduced my husband to my uncle he asked Mel what language he spoke at home. Yes, that really happened, and probably still does.

Anyway, in those days the Australian consulate in San Francisco had an information service which included a library, and in addition to books about Australia I would borrow as many fiction works by Australian authors as I could get through. I liked what I read, and have ever since preferred reading the fiction of Australia to that of other countries. One of my favorite authors has always been Patrick White, and I've probably read most of his novels. But that would be a few years ago now, and I am due for a reread, especially his The tree of man, which I regard as a kind of secular biblical epic.

It appears however that the work of Patrick White, Australia's only Nobel prize winner for literature, is no longer read widely, and not even valued amongst contemporary publishers. Briefly, The Australian newspaper recently sent some chapters from White's work to various publishers who all rejected it. You can read more about it here, but whatever the case, do yourself a favor and read some Patrick White novels soon. You might even want to join the Patrick White read-a-thon at the Sarsaparilla blog. My recommendations, in addition to The tree of man:
Riders in the chariot
The Aunt's story
The eye of the storm
A fringe of leaves

4 comments:

John Cowart said...

Thanks for the tip; I'll check him out.

By the way, what language do you folks speak at home?

Val said...

Harty har har! Pirate language, of course!

Granny said...

Hi Val


Thanks for the comment. I think blogger will stay. I hope. Did you know it's part of google?

utumn said...

Hi Val, thanks for stopping by. Yes I plan on doing the tour. I have all the room ready and photographed except my bedroom which I hope to have ready in a week…It is my catch all room and a real mess. I do have a photo section on my sidebar if you want a sneak peek at some things I have in my house. I have some photos in there