Patrick White, winner of the Nobel prize and author of more than a dozen novels and plays - including 'Voss', 'The Vivisector' and 'The Twyborn Affair' - left behind him a reputation for intense privacy and sometimes savage temper. He was better known for long-held grudges and strained loyalties than for lasting friendships.
David Marr's brilliant biography is, under these circumstances, all the more remarkable. It draws not only on a wide range of original research but also on the single most difficult and important source of all: Patrick White himself. Marr had White's help throughout the six years the biography took to write. White asked for no right of veto and in the weeks before his death read the final manuscript which, for richness of detail, authority and balance, is stunning.
Patrick White lived an extraordinary life: born into a family of rich Hunter River graziers; lonely expatriate schoolboy and university student in England; jackeroo in the snowy Mountains - an experience that laid the groundwork for his fiction; playwright in pre-war London with little success; RAF intelligence officer in the North African desert. Inevitably, after all his travels, White was drawn back to Australia to write his great novels and engage in political and aesthetic battles with practically everybody.
Throughout his exciting narrative, Marr explores the roots of White's writing and unearths the raw material of his remarkable art. He makes plain the central fact of White's life as an artist: the homosexuality that formed his view of himself as an outcast and stranger able to penetrate the hearts of both men and women.
Gracefully written and exhaustively researched, this book is a biography of classic excellence - sympathetic, objective, penetrating, as blunt when necessary as White himself.
- Publication Date:
- 04 / 08 / 2000
- 126 x 199mm