Arthur and Waldo Brown are twins and destined never to grow apart. They share everything, except their views of things.
This is the story of two people living one life. Arthur and Waldo Brown were born twins and destined never to to grow away from each other. They spent their childhood together. Their youth together. Middle-age together. Retirement together. They even shared the same girl. They shared everything – except their view of things. Waldo, with his intelligence, saw everything and understood little. Arthur was the fool who didn't bother to look. He understood.
In The Solid Mandala Patrick White draws a telling and touching portrait of twin brothers. Waldo is the competent man of reason; he sees himself as the superior intellect. Arthur, accepted as a half-wit, is the innocent, God's fool, loving and outgoing in a blundering way. As they compete with and care for each other through half a century, their lives are inextricably intertwined – the two sides of man's nature forming a totality.
'He is more like Dostoevsky than Thomas Mann: his novels are maelstroms of the soul whose power resides in the nightmare detail which assails their protagonists. They testify to the beauty and contortion of the spirit as few others this century have done.'
'His most finished and powerful work.'