Thursday, July 27, 2006


Motivated by Laura at Sarsparilla, I’ve bought a copy of Patrick White’s longest novel, The Vivisector . I will read it before September when a group blog (organised by Laura) will discuss it. A review of the novel is here and another here - I’ll collect further background material as I read. A Patrick White 'reader's group' is here which has links to a number of White-related sites.
I liked Laura's approach:

So I thought I would ask you, dear reader and internet friend, if you’d like to read a Patrick White novel with me: the general aim would be not to experience or prove “greatness,” whatever that is, but to see for ourselves…to make up our own minds…to enjoy each other’s company in a shared experience. ..I think we could do a nice low-stakes internet reading group where everyone can choose how much to participate (you needn’t write anything at all, if you don’t like to, for instance) and the point will always be simply to have fun and enjoy the reading.
Sounds like a fun thing to explore. I have tried to read Patrick White several times in the past and have to admit I did not enjoy. But that was then – now I am now older and wiser. I'd be interested in reader's observations concerning 'reading groups' generally - reading for me - at least since I left school - has been a solitary experience. Reading as part of a group seems like a pleasant way to expand your insight and pleasures. I am also interested to see how the blog-based experience unfolds.


Lee said...

Hi Harry,
I've been wondering when you'd get around to posting on Patrick White! I have just read his very long biography by David Marr in the last few months and found it unputdownable - I highly recommend it. This has led me to seek out White's books (other than Voss which I struggled with in my schooldays) beginning with The Aunt's Story - apart from appreciating a few snatches of White's humour (e.g. the school girl with 'catarral nose') my concentration soon wandered (in the Jardin Exotique) and the book now languishes on my "to do" list. I'm not sure why - is it that White seems a tad fusty these days? I'm still keen enough, however, to get hold of The Tree of Man and give that a go. As for the online "book club", like any club, if you are enthusiastic enough and want to be a joiner then by all means take part. It doesn't appeal to me personally.

hc said...

OK I'll try the biography down the track.

Reading is mostly a solitary experience for me - part of the pleasure is getting away from the world! But I hope the group-read will enlighten me. Others with a focus on literature are likely to have more refined literary insights than mine.

Whu not give it a go Lee you can always 'lurk' in the background as a silent observer. It is an unconstrained opportunity.