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The Hanging Garden (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 2 Jan 2014

4.4 out of 5 stars 5 customer reviews

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Product details

  • Paperback: 240 pages
  • Publisher: Vintage Classics (2 Jan. 2014)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0099578344
  • ISBN-13: 978-0099578345
  • Product Dimensions: 13 x 1.4 x 19.9 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 1,404,112 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Review

"It is frustrating and tantalising that The Hanging Garden is left, well, hanging" (Robert Macfarlane Sunday Times)

"[A] coherent and polished read, shrewd and tender about its two protagonists... Arresting." (Richard Davenport-Hines Spectator)

"What is instantly apparent is White's mastery of his art. He does what so many other writers ought to be able to do easily but often can't, which is set a scene economically and vividly." (Alan Taylor Glasgow Herald)

Book Description

Two children negotiate the dangers of life as World War Two evacuees in this unfinished novel from the Nobel Prize-winning Patrick White, published for the first time in 2012

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Format: Hardcover
Seen through the eyes of the young the world can seem like a distressing, grotesque and thoroughly grey place, especially for children living through extraordinary times and upheavals.

In his last and unfinished novel, Patrick White has the seed of what was to be his final epic. With the trademark downbeat feeling that he does so well, the themes of longing and melancholy course through this work and punctuate right at the heart of the social ills that society attempts to hide beneath a veneer of respectability.

Class is the epitome of the social disease and this commentary into the nature of the adults is a parody of the respectability and selflessness they portray, the inherent selfishness of human nature, even in good acts is shown to be most farcical in the face of an innocent child's perception.

the character viewpoint changes rapidly and seamlessly as innermost thoughts are explored in brutal honesty. At times, the perspective changes once or twice within the same paragraph but never to the detriment of the narrative flow. The beauty of White's style is that he leaves you in no doubt about what each character is doing or thinking at any time...in a way his style - for me - depicts the all round complete character portrait.

Every character has their bad points exquisitely rendered, be it class prejudice or pure ignorance of circumstance. This is off set with the frighteningly mature voices and views of the children, which are a merciless indictment of life and the circumstances it throws at people.

The juvenile conversations blended in with adult intuitiveness reveal a litany of terrible traits in this raw and uncompromising struggle against loneliness and surrounded by an alien culture.
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Format: Hardcover
A masterly narrative of life in a stultifying Australian suburb during WW2, told from the point of view of a precocious but socially isolated Greek immigrant girl. White writes with typical underplayed and penetrating insight, using deft touches to reveal vast hinterlands of loneliness. Unsaid longings populate the shadows.

The novel was unfinished inasmuch as White had not edited and re-drafted the final version before he died. This shows in some aspects, such as where the girl's diary appears too knowing or where, occasionally, we are told what to think. But these are small blemishes in a minor work of a great writer.
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Format: Paperback
A masterly narrative of life in a stultifying Australian suburb during WW2, told from the point of view of a precocious but socially isolated Greek immigrant girl. White writes with typical underplayed and penetrating insight, using deft touches to reveal vast hinterlands of loneliness. Unsaid longings populate the shadows.

The novel was unfinished inasmuch as White had not edited and re-drafted the final version before he died. This shows in some aspects, such as where the girl's diary appears too knowing or where, occasionally, we are told what to think. But these are small blemishes in a minor work of a great writer.
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Format: Hardcover
Set during World War II in Sydney, the novel explores the world of two children: Eirene Sklavos and Gilbert Horsfall. Eirene is the daughter of an Australian woman, and a Greek communist who has been murdered in prison. Gilbert (Gil) is English: his father is an officer in India, his mother killed by a bomb during the Blitz in London. Gil and Eirene are thrown together in Essie Bulpit's ramshackle home on Neutral Bay, with its large, lush, neglected garden.

The garden is not a paradise, it is a refuge. While Gil and Eirene have enough room to each be alone, they are drawn together. The garden, with its lantana and gums, vines and pittosporum, looking out over Sydney Harbour, provides both a safe place and some common ground away from the culturally dangerous public worlds of society and school. Gil and Eirene become closer, and are largely at ease with each other in the garden where adults and other children do not intrude with their expectations and rules.

`Any conversation they might have had was buried inside him.'

Gil and Eirene are parted: the war may largely be distant from Sydney, but death is not. And, as Gil and Eirene move to live their separate new lives, I found myself less caught up in the story and more curious about where Patrick White intended to take it. What did the future hold for Gil and Eirene, and what twists and turns would have been involved in their journeys? Would they be reunited? Who will they become?

`Is this where we belong then?'

While `The Hanging Garden' is unfinished, this part is not incomplete. I might wonder about what the future holds for Gil and Eirene, but the world depicted in the novel, with the circumscribed worlds inhabited by a number of the characters is finely drawn.
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Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
What a gift from the Gods! To find something new of Patrick's, finished or not, is serendipity. His writing is ever beautiful and his spirit timeless.
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