Abandoned: The Twyborn Affair by Patrick White

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The Twyborn Affair (Vintage Classics)

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:

  1. I was too confused
  2. I abandoned it after 100 pages
  3. 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?


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