This title comes 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.
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(198mm x 129mm x 33mm)
Publisher: Vintage Publishing
Country of Publication:
US Kirkus Review »
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)
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Author Biography - Patrick White
Patrick White was born in England in 1912 and taken to Australia, where his father owned a sheep farm, when he was six months old. He was 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 war. He returned to Australia after the war. He became the most considerable figure in modern Australian literature, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. The great poet of Australian landscape, he turned its vast empty spaces into great mythic landscapes of the soul. His position as a man of letters was controversial, provoked by his acerbic, unpredictable public statements and his belief that it is eccentric individuals who offer the only hope of salvation. He died in September 1990.