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A Fringe of Leaves by Patrick White

A Fringe of Leaves

by Patrick White

Other authors: See the other authors section.

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389827,583 (4.04)1 / 36



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Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
Woman caught in shipwreck. You won’t believe what happens next!
That clickbait-style headline is the best way for me describe this book without too many spoilers, and I’m a bit hesitant to provide more details. Mentioning the shipwreck is kind of spoilery because after all, when the woman boards the ship you’ll know something about what lies ahead, But Ellen Roxburgh is the heart and soul of this book: who she is, and who she becomes; what she holds on to, and what she lets go. That the novel is based on a true story adds considerable interest. And while shipwreck survival stories have been told before, Patrick White combined a compelling character with an equally compelling Australian landscape into an enjoyable read. ( )
1 vote lauralkeet | Nov 3, 2016 |
The formal writing style of this book had me struggling through the first chapter, which was oh so very English drawing room. However, persistence paid off and once the narrative voice changed to Ellen Roxburgh, the story began to unfold. This is a marvellous imagining of an English woman of this period.
The account of her life with the aboriginal people was both grim and shocking to read and contrasted greatly with the lifestyle of the european settlers.
At times the language required more than one reading to obtain the meaning. This is a challenging and thought provoking book. ( )
1 vote HelenBaker | Jun 9, 2016 |
My favorite White is still _Riders in the Chariot_, but this was interesting. I always get a bit antsy when things go as far astray as they do in this book. It's a harrowing tale and rather like a nightmare at times. I admire what White leaves out of his novels. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
bought today 1 of 12 books for $10 the lot.
have this edition also-----Paperback, 368 pages
Published 1983 by Penguin Books (first published 1976) for daughter - today 5/12/2012 ( )
  velvetink | Mar 31, 2013 |
I have long been an admirer of Patrick White's novels and this has some of his finest mature writing style. Set in the 19th century it tells the story of Ellen; a woman who survives poverty, an unfulfilled marriage, a shipwreck, extreme conditions amongst an aboriginal tribe and finally a re-introduction to civilization. White uses a stream of conscious technique to great advantage to reveal the inner turmoils of characters facing extraordinary situations. This is particularly true of Ellen whose consciousness lurches from dream state to events from her past to her present ordeals.

The story takes a little time to get going as Ellen's backstory needs to be told in a lengthy flashback and as the author says:
"It seemed to Mrs Roxburgh that the whole of her uneventful life had been spent listening to men telling stories and smiling to encourage them"
How ironic this is as Ellens story becomes famous throughout Australia. The shipwreck and fight for survival amongst the aborigines is vividly told as the writing changes gear and propels the story forward.

Patrick White explores major themes in this story such as: womens place in society and in the real world, a civilization that permits slavery and criminal colonies, cannibalism, sexual desire and native communities amongst others.

A book to keep and to reread. ( )
2 vote baswood | Dec 13, 2010 |
Showing 1-5 of 7 (next | show all)
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» Add other authors (4 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Patrick Whiteprimary authorall editionscalculated
Odom, MelCover artistsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Book description
In the experiences that follow, she discovers human savagery and her own sensuality. It has some basis in the true story of Eliza Fraser, who was shipwrecked off Queensland in 1836.
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White woman enslaved by Aborigines; Mentions cannibalism.

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