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The Tree Of Man Paperback – 27 Oct 1994
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"[This is] one of those magnificent novels given to us when a great writer is in perfect harmony with the mythic soul of humanity" (Carmen Callil Guardian)
"He is, in the finest sense, a world novelist" (Guardian)
"His greatest novel, The Tree of Man is a tragic pastoral about the penitential struggle with nature in a grim Australian Eden" (Peter Conrad Observer)
"The novel has unforgettable scenes, marvellous characters, wide ranges of mood, strikingly fresh imagery - all those ingredients which make a novel...become a permanent part of our memory" (Washington Post)
"A timeless work of art from which no essential element of life has been omitted" (New York Times Book Review)
An extraordinary story about a couple’s experience of moving into the remote Australian wilderness by Nobel Prize-winner Patrick White.See all Product Description
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Top Customer Reviews
It tracks the life of a husband and wife who settle in the fringes of the outback. It works through their hopes and aspirations, the birth of their children, their middle-aged disillusionment and their ultimate ends.
In point of fact nothing really happens in the book at all; these are just ordinary people, for the times. What does happen is that you are presented with an extremely powerful emotional picture of the main protagonists and their interaction with their environment. It tells us how the everyday, ordinary events these people experience turn them into what they are. The result is a gloriously truthful and unaffected portrait of humanity.
I don't know what the official rationale for the books title was, but what I think White is trying to say is that, here is man, occasionally glum, occasionally glorious, mostly mundane and of such stuff are we all made.
Read this when you finally get sick of all the fantasy heroes and heroines. Here's the real thing.
Young Stan Parker inherits a piece of land that he goes to live on, building a house and farm, then he takes a wife, and eventually they have children, which we then see grow up. That is the basic plot of this tale, but there is so much more. When Stan first moves to the area it is pretty isolated, but over the years more settlers come, and a village as such builds up in the area, along with this the family have to learn to deal with nature, there is torrential rain and floods, winds and storms, drought and bush fires.
As we follow the family we see their ambitions and their failures, showing all their flaws, as well as that of their neighbours and friends. All this taking place in the early part of the 20th Century, this has to be the greatest novel to ever have come out of Australia. Quite simply, this is a novel of life, with all its ups and downs, making this tale timeless.
Although there are amusing scenes - normally thanks to Mrs O'Dowd, there is an unrelenting sense of loss, human vulnerability and "if only". The reader always knows that there will be no fairy tale ending. It is true to life.
He is quite Dickensian in many ways. Stunning descriptions of the Aussie countryside and deliciously observed people. A rewarding but draining read - probably because it gets close to the essence of being human.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
Read for the Book Group. Very densely packed, it had to be read in small doses and slowly. A wealth of characters and minute observations. Read morePublished 16 months ago by Mr. D. P. Jay