Riders In The Chariot (Vintage Classics) Paperback – 5 Sep 1996
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"[A] monumental work [of more than] half a thousand pages -- almost every one of which cries out for quotation" (New York Times)
"Riders in the Chariot is the most compassionate and the most beautiful of all Patrick White’s works; colours fly everywhere; his words, comic, ecstatic, are like the brushstrokes on a canvas" (Carmen Callil and Colm Tóibín The Modern Library: The 200 Best Novels in English Since 1950)
"This is a book which really defies review; for its analysable qualities are overwhelmed by those imponderables which make a work 'great' in the untouchable sense. It must be read because, like Everest, 'it is there'." (Guardian)
"The outstanding figure in Australian fiction" (New York Times)
"Stands out among contemporary novelists like a cathedral surrounded by booths. Its forms, its impulse and its dedication to what is eternal all excite a comparison with religious architecture" (Sunday Times)
A bold, visionary story of four intertwining lives from the Nobel prizewinning novelistSee all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
This is an epic in every meaning of the word. Not just epic in its sweep within time and space, taking in WW2, Europe, Australia, the Holocaust etc, but epic in its emotion and spiritual vision. White pulls of what so few novelists even attempt, a compelling expression of the Mystic Vision. The imagery of the Chariot (or Merkavah, to use its Hebrew name), which the four main characters share stands out like a cathedral in the book as the perfect metaphor for the Transcendent. If you are interested in mysticism, this is the book for you, as it is steeped in Judaic, Kabbalistic and Christian mystical imagery, but far from being airy-fairy or intangible, it is a concrete, as real, if not more real, than the meticulously detailed and fully realised material world of Australia and pre-War Germany White evokes. And if you are not interested in mysticism, this is the book for you too, as nowhere does any of this imagery work more powerfully than simply a symbol of the human spirit.
No book has ever spoken of the tension between the ecstatic vision and the numbing and brutal experience of being in a world which does not understand it so powerfully as this book did for me. Its characters are unforgettable, and although the vision of a world which is filled with darkness is powerfully vivid, White still finds space for immense compassion in his descriptions of it. Even his negative characters have flashes of insight and humanity. And his constant series of epiphanies in Nature unfailingly take the breath away.Read more ›
In succeeding sections, in which these characters overlap, their intricate interior lives are developed in colorful, memorable detail, and the reader quickly sees that each is a lonely survivor of some traumatic experience which has made him/her question the nature of good and evil. Each hopes to unravel some of the mysteries at the center of the universe. Remarkably, all of them have experienced the same apocalyptic vision of a chariot being drawn by four horses galloping into a shimmering future.
In the hands of a lesser writer, the characters, their daily lives, and their vision of the chariot might have been presented in a sentimental or romantic way, or even been used to illustrate the author's religious views. But White's view of the chariot and its importance is far subtler--and more enigmatic--than that, and its role in the lives of these characters is both unsentimental and haunting. Tantalizing parallels between the vision of the chariot and the mysteries of Revelations, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the Seven Seals, along with Biblical warnings about blood, fire, and destruction will keep a symbol-hunter totally engaged.Read more ›
You feel like you are in the undisputed presence of greatness, a quality so vast that it's almost unknowable. His books are rich, dense, brilliantly written, epic yet also sometimes focusing on the tiniest of human experiences. I feel edified to read them, but I don't always entirely get them. I am certain that several of its qualities have passed me by. Which is testament to how many qualities they actually have! I however like that type of experience: I feel challenged, somewhat puzzled, as if i've experienced something significant that I won't understand until some point in the future. If you don't enjoy that type of experience, then Patrick White is possibly not for you - if you do however then you are in for the ride of your life!
Most Recent Customer Reviews
This is a lyrical masterpiece. White is able to get under the surface of everything he sees and bring both objects and characters to life in a truly remarkable and beautiful way. Read morePublished 7 months ago by Mr. J. Cornwell-Hogg
I totally failed to get interested in the first character in this book, Miss Hare, so after a few struggles,I skipped to page 97, Part 2. Read morePublished 11 months ago by SMR
RIDERS IN THE CHARIOT, Patrick White's sixth novel, is a humbling read. I'm struck by how often reputation and a sententious award (in this case, the Nobel Prize for Literature)... Read morePublished on 3 April 2013 by C. Skala
The main narrative of this novel takes place in Australia over a few weeks (I think) culminating in a set of events over Easter in what seems to be a smallish set of settlements in... Read morePublished on 25 Sept. 2011 by William Jordan
I haven't had a chance to read this yet. When my friend has finished with it I hope to be able to have my turn at reading it and then I'll be able to comment,,,Published on 7 Aug. 2010 by Ms. Joanne Lancaster
The printing quality of my copy is bad all through the volume: generally on the left page (while reading) several characters in a word, (and this in a very irregular way) will be... Read morePublished on 20 Feb. 2010 by Mme I. Lacassagnere
In a lifetime obsession with books, I have read few that come near to this. Epic, but extraordinarily down to earth. Read morePublished on 12 Jun. 2009 by Slioch
This deceptively complex and tension-filled Australian novel begins as the straightforward story of Mary Hare, a strange, half-mad spinster who lives in Xanadu, a crumbling... Read morePublished on 26 Dec. 2002 by Mary Whipple