A bold, visionary story of four intertwining lives from the Nobel prizewinning novelist
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY DAVID MALOUF
Through the crumbling ruins of the once splendid Xanadu, Miss Hare wanders, half-mad. In the wilderness she stumbles upon an Aborigine artist and a Jewish refugee. They place themselves in the care of a local washerwoman. In a world of pervasive evil, all four have been independently damaged and discarded. Now in one shared vision they find themselves bound together, understanding the possibility of redemption.
About the Author
Patrick White was born in England in 1912. He was taken to Australia (where his father owned a sheep farm) when he was six months old, but educated in England, at Cheltenham College and King’s College, Cambridge. He settled in London, where he wrote several unpublished novels, then served in the RAF during the Second World War. He returned after the war to Australia, where he became the most considerable figure in modern Australian literature before being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. His position as a man of letters was controversial, provoked by his unpredictable public statements and his belief that it is eccentric individuals who offer the only hope of salvation. Technically brilliant, he is one modern novelist to whom the oft-abused epithet ‘visionary’ can safely be applied. He died in September 1990.
The Hares were Australians who kept their links with Home as a vindication of their Class. They never expected to have a child who was not quite normal. And they never gave her the love she craved. And so- when she was old and alone, in the great crumbling palace of Zanadu, all she inherited was her feeling for the place, and a nearness to the wild creatures and the growing things, and her search for the vision- the riders in the chariot. She thought she had found one in a lonely Jewish refugee, scarred by what he had lived through- who becomes a symbol of the Christ story and dies as a result of a crucifixion....Another was a warm-hearted woman who is the sole wholly normal person in the book, who takes in washing, copes with a drunken husband and raises her six daughters in a hovel.... And then there is an "abo"- a black man, depraved, diseased, destroyed by the people he came in contact with - a pervert, a prostitute, etc. He too saw the vision- and painted his Christ and his Chariot and died in a lodging house of tuberculosis...These four symbolic figures grope, at times touch good, at times evil- but never arrive. And around them surge the waves of hate and love and good and evil. The setting though Australia as in The Tree of Man and Voss has none of the earthly regional quality. This book is an allegory, which will mean different things to different readers. At times the rhythmic flow of the prose has a touch of Dylan Thomas' poetry- and like that is often confused, abstruse, difficult. Certainly not everyone's meat. (Kirkus Reviews)
Number Of Pages: 560
Published: October 1996
Publisher: Random House
Dimensions (cm): 19.8 x 13.0 x 3.4
Weight (kg): 0.4