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20th Century Solid Mandala Paperback – Jun 23 1993


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Paperback, Jun 23 1993
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 320 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics; New edition edition (June 23 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140186336
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140186338
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 2.5 x 12.7 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 159 g
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)

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By Tom Munro on July 19 2001
Format: Paperback
Patrick White is of course Australia's most famous novelist. He lived for some time in exile but returned to Australia and lived there for some years before dying some years ago. He was a somewhat prickly character but his winning of the Nobel Prize for literature helped solidify his reputation.
This book is unusual in is clarity and sheer joy. A number of White's books are heavy going, densely written and pretentious. This book however was simply sheer delight. It concerns two old men who live together and are brothers. One is reasonably intelligent and has worked in a library. The other is what might be described as intellectually simple. The book consists of both of these characters speaking and talking about their lives and their past.
White was a gay man who lived most of his life with a companion who he was deeply attached to. One suspects that the book is loosely based on their later life, but of course this is only speculation. The character who is most hardly done by is the librarian who clearly is White.
It is hard really to describe the delight and joy of the book, however once I picked it up I could not stop reading it.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 4 reviews
23 of 26 people found the following review helpful
Classic July 19 2001
By Tom Munro - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
Patrick White is of course Australia's most famous novelist. He lived for some time in exile but returned to Australia and lived there for some years before dying some years ago. He was a somewhat prickly character but his winning of the Nobel Prize for literature helped solidify his reputation.
This book is unusual in is clarity and sheer joy. A number of White's books are heavy going, densely written and pretentious. This book however was simply sheer delight. It concerns two old men who live together and are brothers. One is reasonably intelligent and has worked in a library. The other is what might be described as intellectually simple. The book consists of both of these characters speaking and talking about their lives and their past.
White was a gay man who lived most of his life with a companion who he was deeply attached to. One suspects that the book is loosely based on their later life, but of course this is only speculation. The character who is most hardly done by is the librarian who clearly is White.
It is hard really to describe the delight and joy of the book, however once I picked it up I could not stop reading it.
1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
Intense! March 24 2015
By Red Pepper - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
A voyeur's perspective of life within a family of complex individuals, where the relationship between two brothers becomes obsessive, fraught with abstract emotional reactive behaviours, and ultimately destructive.
Fear and loathing in Sarsaparilla June 14 2015
By Harry - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition
Another of Patrick White’s brilliant examinations of the human character, in this case focused on twins, the totally anal Waldo and his ‘half-wit’ brother, Arthur. Their mundane lives are examined in detail, from both their perspectives and in part from their acquaintances (Mrs Musto, Mrs Poulter, the Feinsteins). Full of scathing wit, such as the workmate, Wally, ‘who was so good at war, he got killed for it', and Waldo and his father attempting to relate to the common man, the ship’s engineer, although ‘neither George nor Waldo like engines, but perhaps they feel it is manly to try.’ And dear Mrs Poulter, ‘who couldn’t exist without our Lord; but, questioned Arthur, Could He exist without you?’

The twins are yin and yang, Waldo bookish, pretentious and awkward and Arthur, a man-child, full of natural love and affection. And perhaps together they made the solid mandala, defined in Mr Musto’s encyclopaedia as ‘a symbol of totality, a pattern of order superimposed on chaos, a geometric form seen as a vision. But it was Arthur who was the keeper of mandalas, who would guess their final secret through touch and light.’ Poor, simple put-down Arthur, the true hero of the tale (and life), but he could not survive alone, not without his other darker half.

Who’d have thought there could be so many tormented souls in the wasteland of outer suburban Sydney, but I expect the book reflects many of the torments of the author.
3 of 4 people found the following review helpful
Classic Jan. 28 2013
By John McPhee - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Turns my stomach every time, but what a story, and so briliantly written. White is a wonder of 20th century writing.

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