Just finished Patrick White’s The Aunt’s story and just had to share! This is what Nobel Prize winning writing looks like, and oh my!
Some of my wonderful readers have shared with me their favourite passages from my own Fire and Sacrifice, that they re-read for the joy of the expression, and I am so incredibly flattered and thrilled to know some passages have had that effect.
I would never put myself in the same list as Patrick White, but in reading this book I have most certainly re-read and copied down in awe many of his passages that I might learn how the magic works!
“Many unfinished situations complicated the surface of the dining room, or lay folded, passive, and half recognized amongst the table napkins.”
(Also on my Goodreads page): The Aunt’s Story is going to stay with me for some time. Not just because of the haunting ending that makes me want to revisit and reread several sections, but also for the stunning literary presentations of intimate relationships and Theodora’s intensely private world. I like her!
I will admit to struggling with some sections, in particular where there’s a lot of un-translated French dialogue. This is one of those books that is a success for its character journey and literary genius, not for exciting plot. Really, little happens and you will need to concentrate.
That said, Patrick White seems to have a rare ability to see under the surfaces of daily interactions and get straight, painfully, to the heart of deeper motivations, agendas and psychological needs – from the way we navigate fleeting interactions, to manifestations of ongoing personal pain. And he does it often with such swift beauty I found myself re-reading in wonder (and then noting down!) many of his phrases. This is what the writing of a Nobel Prize winner looks like.
“You are an odious and repulsive glutton, Alyosha Sergei.” But her words were worn by much use and had a certain shabby tenderness.