Patrick White Letters by Patrick White

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"Letters are the devil, and I always hope that any I have written have been destroyed."—Patrick White

Patrick White spent his whole life writing letters. He wanted them all burnt, but thousands survive to reveal him as one of the greatest letter-writers of his time. Patrick White: Letters is an unexpected and final volume of prose by Australia's most acclaimed novelist. Only a few scraps of White's letters have been published before.

From the aftermath of the First World War until his death in 1990, letters poured from White's pen: they are shrewd, funny, dramatic, pigheaded, camp, and above all, hauntingly beautiful. He wrote novels to sway a hostile world, but letters were for friends.

The culmination of ten years' work and reflection by David Marr, author of the well-received biography Patrick White: A Life, the volume tells the story of White's life in his own words. These are the letters of a great writer, a profound critic, a gossip with the sharpest eyes and tongue, a man who loved and hated ferociously, a keen cook, an angry patriot, and a believer never free of doubt.

"A literary milestone."—Kirkus Reviews

"Mean-spirited and brilliant, the 600 letters collected here offer real insight into the life of the Nobel-Prize winning Australian author. White's venom is matched by his torment, and the whole volume is redeemed by outstanding writing."—Publisher's Weekly ("Best Books 96")

"[T]hose who come to these letters after having read Marr's biography will expect more than shop talk from the master novelist. They will expect the bracing bitchiness of a master curmudgeon. And they will not be disappointed."—Frank Wilson, Philadelphia Inquirer

Patrick White (1912-1990), Australian novelist and playwright, won the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1973. His many novels include Voss, The Twyborn Affair, and Riders in the Chariot.

About Patrick White

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Patrick White was born in England in 1912 to Australian parents and was educated in London. He is the author of twelve novels, including Voss (1957), Riders in the Chariot (1961), and The Vivisector (1970). In 1973, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature. He died in September 1990.
Published June 15, 1996 by University of Chicago Press. 688 pages
Genres: Biographies & Memoirs, History. Non-fiction

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Kirkus Reviews

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The bluntness and sporadic cruelty of White mingles with a bold and outsize warmth that give the letters an epic feel without the usual affectations of the epic.

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London Review of Books

White obviously wrote novels and letters from different parts of himself.

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The Age

It is a word I keep looking up in the dictionary while knowing about it from experience almost in my cradle, any way from stubbing my toes on Greek stones, from my face whipped by pine branches, from the smell of drying wax candles in old mouldy hill-side chapels.'' If in the 12 novels publishe...

Mar 31 2012 | Read Full Review of Patrick White Letters

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