The Australian Patrick White was awarded the 1973 Nobel Literature Prize “for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature”, as it says in the Swedish Academy’s citation.
After my favourite Japanese author Haruki Murakami the late Patrick White is my second favourite author and was homosexual.
I have read his biography called Patrick White by David Marr which has a wonderful portrait of him on the cover by late artist Brett Whitley. He had a very interesting life.
“I think it is impossible to explain faith. It is like trying to explain air, which one cannot do by dividing it into its component parts and labelling them scientifically. It must be breathed to be understood.”
Books I have read of his include Voss, the Vivesector and I did have a copy of the Tree of Man but I never read it.
“Human relationships are vast as deserts: they demand all daring, she seemed to suggest. ”
Patrick White, Voss
“Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a naïve young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent.” Wikipedia
The Vivisector is another interesting White novel. “First published in 1970, it details the lifelong creative journey of fictional artist/painter Hurtle Duffield. Named for its sometimes cruel analysis of Duffield and the major figures in his life, the book explores universal themes like the suffering of the artist, the need for truth and the meaning of existence.” Wikipedia
The thing I like about Whites novels is they examine the truth about relationships in Australia with accurate dialogue that is very realistic.
“I left for New York expecting to repeat my success, only to be turned down by almost every publisher in that city, till the Viking Press, my American publishers of a lifetime, thought of taking me on.”
I wish Patrick was alive now to read this essay and bask in the glory of his literary accomplishments.