Tuesday, 18 July 2006

Patrick White Reading Circle



Over at Sarsaparilla I've put up a whinge rant post about my feelings regarding this blamey Patrick White hoo-hah. (The one where they typed out a chapter of a White novel, sent it round to a dozen publishers under a fake name, and the publishers knocked it back.) In short: The Australian's sting was about as dumb as it gets and therefore not really worth losing sleep over, but one thing that did emerge fairly cleary was that not too much reading of Patrick White novels is going on in the um, reading rooms of the nation. So Sarsaparilla is going to have a Patrick White Reading Circle, and you are invited to join. Seriously, you are. People are over there now voting for what novel to read (you can even vote by saying which ones you don't want to read) and it will all be very easy and fun - so think about giving it a go.

I really mean it when I say it'll be easy and enjoyable. I know some people like to read books (and blogs, for that matter) and love to follow discussions but don't feel like adding their voices - such people are especially welcome to take part and to help choose the book we'll read.

The thing won't start for a few weeks at least in order to make sure everyone can get hold of a copy of the book.

You might want to take the message back to your own blog, too, if you like the idea.

19 comments:

R H said...

Market forces and literary values are like Pop and Classical. But they can be merged. That's the trick.

elsewhere said...

Sorry, L, I'm already in a book club I can't keep up with.

I once lent an English barrister friend _The Twyburn Affair_ but she turned up her nose at it and read _Snow Falling on Cedars_ instead. It was one of those great disheartening moments in life, esp when she asked for an Oz Lit recommendation.

(Do you know Kate McDonnell? Wrote a PhD on Paddy W some years ago.)

Armaniac said...

Just send me out a chapter and I'll see if I want to read the rest :p

Kate said...

Hmm - my introduction to Patrick White was through a Modern Lit class at uni. I enjoyed The Aunt's Story - until the middle when it went _impressionist_?

I plowed through the rest very slowly, but it felt like trying to read the prose that 16 year olds write when they are stoned - and I couldn't do very much with it.

He is one of those authors that I imagine 'is good for me' - in much the same way as eating silverbeet is. If only you could add nutmeg and cream to Modern Oz Lit!

kate2 said...

I used to read novels. Proper novels with big issues and clever plots and sophisticated language.

Now I doze off and Himself has to rescue my glasses. I still read history, somehow I find it easier to follow on public-transport, even if it's big and academic. I fear I have become sadly one-tracked.

I really like the idea of reading proper fiction again, but I don't think I can make you any promises.

Armaniac said...

I like a Safran Foer who makes you feel like you're reading something unique and brilliant, yet you can't put it down.

I'll wait a while to whittle a white I think.

Mary Bennet said...

This idea of reading White is great. He's one of those writers like JM Cootzee (sp?) who captures things perfectly but leave you feeling icky - or at least, with a profound impression that people aren't very nice. That's probably why he's not popular...

As an aside, I don't think we value our literary heritage enough: last year the NSW Government's refusal to buy his former house and establish it was a museum(not that I was offering to HELP or anything - it's in Centennial Park and worth a lot)

George said...

I'm game. I met an Australian couple in Vietnam last year, and they recommended I read Patrick White.

rowan said...

Is it true that Patrick White once quipped that the word Meanjin was Aboriginal for rejected by the New Yorker?

KLG said...

Not quite. It was indeed said -- but by Frank Moorhouse, not PW.

KLG said...

But it was definitely Barry Humphries who said '"Moomba" is an Aboriginal word for "Let's get together and have fun." They didn't need it any more.'

And people say Humphries is right-wing. Pfft.

elsewhere said...

I thought the joke was that 'moomba' was an Abl word for arse. It definitely sounds similar to an East Coast Abl word -- 'moom' {sic?}, as in 'get off your moom' -- for bum.

tigtog said...

I'll give some PW a go - I've never ever picked one up, so why not?

BTW Laura, I see over at Austenblog you're co-ordinating an Austen and Comedy conference next year - sounds like more fun than White I must say.

Anonymous said...

I just realised... the whole stunt is a blatant breach of copyright.

If I was the White estate, I would be having brunch with a naice high-falutin lawyer very soon.

- barista

R H said...

This is true.

Hal Porter wrote a bitchy letter to Patrick White and got back an even more bitchy letter in reply, which he immediately sold to the Mitchell Library.
Hal loved to tell this story, with much laughter of course, and with a drink in his hand. Typical Hal.

R H said...

Patrick White was more of a pom than an Australian. Hal Porter affected pommy dress and manners for a while; tweed and refinement, but was very much a drunken aussie.

I don't know that Patrick was an awfully great writer, but he was probably a great man.

hc said...

Laura, I'll join in although I find Patrick White difficult. When will you announce the chosen book?

Ron said...

HC,

Journey on over here for the chosen book:

http://patrickwhite.ozewriters.com/2006/07/24/and-the-winner-is/

Lucy Tartan said...

The book is The Vivisector - a long book but a very good one and I'm looking forward to rereading it since it's been a while.

I thought Moomba meant not only arse, but big fat arse.

That's right, tigtog, I'm organising an Austen conference for next year. It bloody well better be fun.

I apologise in general for not having been here to talk about Patrick and associated matters but I have been far from teh internets for a while, and rahter nice it was, too.