Patrick White is an author I’ve wanted to try for a long time. He won the Nobel Prize for literature in 1973 and I’m sure I’ll love some of his work, but unfortunately I think I started with the wrong one.
The Twyborn Affair was shortlisted for the Booker Prize in 1979, but the author withdrew it from consideration. The book centres on Eddie Twyborn, a bisexual woman, and is set in the Australian Outback, France and London.
Unfortunately I can’t really tell you what happened because:
- I was too confused
- I abandoned it after 100 pages
- I’m not sure anything actually does happen
The writing quality was immediately obvious and I was initially impressed by the vivid scene setting. Unfortunately it wasn’t long before I lost the plot!
A stream-of-consciousness writing style, reminiscent of Virginia Woolf, began to dominate and I struggled to follow what was going on, let alone its relevance to the plot (if there was one). I can see that this is an intelligently written novel and I’m sure that anyone with the patience unravel this complex novel will be rewarded, but I’m afraid I couldn’t stomach 430 pages of slow confusion.
Have you read anything written by Patrick White?
Are all his books written in a steam-of-consciousness writing style?
Do you think I’d enjoy any of his other books?