The Hanging Garden (Vintage Classics)

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He switches the 1st person narration between characters and back to 3rd person without warning but with such ease that you know which voice you're hearing immediately. They are funny too, some of them, without any intention to be. No one distils Australian characteristics on the page as exquisitely as White. You can hear the drawling speech and feel the heartbreaking efforts to be something better than the battler next door.

This was possibly meant to be a trilogy and coming to the last page left me feeling real loss for what he didn't write. Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Hanging Garden. Reading Progress.

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Add a reference: Book Author. The Hanging Garden is such a book. Backstory: thirty years ago, white was the first contemporary, living, modernist novelist whom i read, loved and wolfed down in great quantities. I hadn't gone back to him for a long, long time so i was worried that he might have changed for the worse in my absence. He hadn't.

The novel contains all the things I once loved about his writing. He's simply not that kind of writer. He is all about language and style and vision and sensuality. Thankfully, he seems to have carefully edited the text as it stands he also, rather frighteningly, seems to have produced an exceptionally polished first draft , leaving only a couple of notes to himself and a handful of passages an editor might want to question part of the fun of this kind of unfinished novel, is that you can play the editor.

There is a startlingly raw truth to this story which, for me, evoked long-forgotten memories. This is great writing for our time. The Hanging Garden may be unfinished, but it does not feel incomplete. He's a giant. Overall, this is an intensely satisfying and impressive novel. Our Lists. View all online retailers Find local retailers.

A previously unpublished novel from the Australian winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature A previously unpublished novel from the Australian winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature Two children are brought to a wild garden on the shores of Sydney Harbour to shelter from the Second World War. About the Author Patrick White Patrick White was born in England in and taken to Australia, where his father owned a sheep farm, when he was six months old.

Read more. Also by Patrick White. Related titles. To Kill A Mockingbird. Pride And Prejudice. Verified Purchase. I found the story a little boring and disjointed at times. Eirene is the daughter of an Australian woman, and a Greek communist who has been murdered in prison.

Gilbert Gil is English: his father is an officer in India, his mother killed by a bomb during the Blitz in London.

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Gil and Eirene are thrown together in Essie Bulpit's ramshackle home on Neutral Bay, with its large, lush, neglected garden. The garden is not a paradise, it is a refuge. While Gil and Eirene have enough room to each be alone, they are drawn together. The garden, with its lantana and gums, vines and pittosporum, looking out over Sydney Harbour, provides both a safe place and some common ground away from the culturally dangerous public worlds of society and school.

Gil and Eirene become closer, and are largely at ease with each other in the garden where adults and other children do not intrude with their expectations and rules.


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And, as Gil and Eirene move to live their separate new lives, I found myself less caught up in the story and more curious about where Patrick White intended to take it. What did the future hold for Gil and Eirene, and what twists and turns would have been involved in their journeys? Would they be reunited?

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Who will they become? I might wonder about what the future holds for Gil and Eirene, but the world depicted in the novel, with the circumscribed worlds inhabited by a number of the characters is finely drawn.


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  • From David Marr's note at the end of the novel, we learn that the draft was written in blue biro by Patrick White on quires of foolscap paper, and that the final novel was intended to be in three parts. Illness, age and the demands of public life each played a part in preventing completion. The incomplete novel, transcribed from Patrick White's handwritten draft, has been published this year - to mark the centenary of White's birth. Jennifer Cameron-Smith.

    Episode 189-Classic White Garden

    I felt ambivalent about purchasing this book. Before his death, White had wanted it destroyed, and it seems inappropriate if not unethical that his agent would subsequently allow it to be published. But in spite of the novel being only a fragment and published against the author's wishes, I loved it. The novel is set in the Second World War. They have been billeted with Mrs Bulpit, a widowed Englishwoman who lives in a house with the hanging garden of the book's title, in Mosman a suburb on Sydney's northern harbourside.

    The children form an unlikely friendship, and in creating this relationship White established beautifully the small perceptions and deceptions, the distinctions as to what can be shared and what cannot.

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