Flaws in the Glass

Author(s): Patrick White

Australian

The appearance of this self-portrait by Patrick White is a literary event for which his readers and admirers have long hoped. He explains how on the very rare occasions when he re-reads a passage from one of his books, he recognizes very little of the self he knows. This 'unknown' is the man who interviewers and visiting students expect to find, but 'unable to produce him', he prefers to remain private - or as private as anyone who has been awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature can ever be. But in this book is the self Patrick White does recognize, the one he sees reflected in the glass.


It is a remarkable book. In a shifting sequence we learn of youth in Australia; the 'expensive prison', his English boarding school; Cambridge with holiday trips to Germany; London in the Blitz; RAF wartime intelligence and compensations of life in Australia. There are journeys to cities and landscapes round the world which take on more reality than places one has actually visited.


He tells us whom he has loved and hated and of his opinions - political and literary. He introduces us to a host of characters from Australian cousins to Stravinsky and Queen Elizabeth - and of course to Manoly Lascaris, who in 1942 'became the central mandala in my life's hitherto messy design.' He describes what he sees in the glass's reflection with such power that it seems no artist can have attempted or executed a self-portrait so lifelike before.

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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 He settled in London, where he wrote several unpublished novels, then served in the RAF during the war.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.

General Fields

  • : 9781742759005
  • : Random House Australia
  • : Vintage
  • : 0.283
  • : July 2012
  • : 199mm X 133mm X 24mm
  • : Australia
  • : books

Special Fields

  • : Patrick White
  • : Paperback
  • : 1
  • : 823
  • : 288