The Twyborn Affair (Vintage Classics)

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Still, from the South of France to a sheep ranch in the Australian Outback -- described in gruesome detail -- to a brothel in decadent pre-WW2 London, this novel sheds a light on the mysteries of gender and identity. Mar 14, Lizbet rated it liked it. The thing with Patrick White is that it's hard to pick the number of stars to give. In fact, I'm not sure that I really like this star-rating thing. So often I read a book which is beautifully and intelligently written and that you enjoy reading but that you can't say you loved because the author has a clever knack of making things distasteful.

So this was a very good book, but not a loveable book. I came across this book by randomly choosing a book from the recommendations Goodreads gave me for the psychology genre. This emphatically was not that book! In these days of transgender awareness, I came across this book by randomly choosing a book from the recommendations Goodreads gave me for the psychology genre. In these days of transgender awareness, a straight person might be tempted to think that all this gender fluidity is a new thing - otherwise why hadn't they seen or heard about it?

Having eyes do you not see, having ears do you not hear? This book is also about the not-seeing - by others and the main character as well.


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What is astounding to me is that an older Australian writer in the late 's wrote this. I guess that to those who can see, nothing is hidden - and it seems Patrick White can see! To digress a little bit ah, who am I kidding, everything is a digression. We had an Australian post-doc in our department and I mentioned that I was reading him. The reaction was so dramatic that I can still remember it. Basically it was a conservative, moral reaction that this was an author to avoid - like he was unclean or something.

After reading this book, now I can guess where these views came from.

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In any case, this kind of moral repugnance is not present in the book at all. It would have been easy to include some bigot characters to spew about unnatural this or that, but I am glad that White did not make it that kind of book. At its core is the truth that the nature of a human is expressed from within and that truth can lie uneasily with what society expects. Edward Twyborn born twice? The three sections of the book follow her from Eudoxia in as a young wife to a barmy Byzantine Greek in the south of France, to an Australian sheep farm as Eddie in and finally as a whorehouse madam!

The book is brave in never presenting Twyborn in tormenting anxiety about her nature, it seems she has accepted it. However that acceptance is not without cost as each of these sections portray. The main cost is that Twyborn is afraid of love because she cannot trust the other to accept her as she is. Which is the tragedy of the book as several times it is obvious to the reader that there are those who would. The Hollywood ending puts an ironic stamp on that though. Twyborn is making his way to his mother's flat when he is killed by a German bomb.

But then again, to look at it pessimistically, Twyborn is correct that society is unaccepting, it was a bomb from a society that would kill him without a single compunction. Feb 07, Miriam rated it really liked it Shelves: I finished reading this a month ago, so I'm a little blurry on the details now. But one thing I'm sure about is that this book definitely improved with a re-read. I think I've already mentioned that I read this at a younger and more prudish age. Back then, I had the impression that it was all about flatulence and masturbation and deviant, deviant sex.

The Twyborn Affair (Vintage Classic) | Patrick White | The Co-op

It impressed me a lot, I think, in a scarring kind of way. This time around, though, I found it pretty tame. The sexuality was actually handled qu I finished reading this a month ago, so I'm a little blurry on the details now. The sexuality was actually handled quite delicately compared to what we're used to seeing now. The flatulence -- since I was expecting it -- came across as less purely offensive and more indicative of character and atmosphere.

And the masturbation was there for literary reasons: I can't summarize the plot without giving away the ending, so let me just wax ultra-vague. Mainly, this novel is about identity. Not just identity as a sexual being, but identity as a person of a particular nationality in this case, Australian and within a particular family and community. The characters spend most of their time just groping their way towards what it means to be them. Maybe, ultimately, that's what it's like to be somebody. Eudoxia , the enchanting young mistress of an elderly, flatulent Greek man. Plus, she has to dodge the propositions of men more interested in her than in her whores.

Okay, fine, I changed my mind.

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It's not about identity, it's about dodging overly amorous admirers! A happily ever after in domestic bliss would just be a petty vandalism against all these images of identities in flux. This impressed me for all the wrong reasons when I first read it. Jun 18, Ivy rated it it was amazing. I studied White in Uni, and was impressed by the two books we did.

But I wasn't moved. This really moved me. It isn't all grand Australian identity like Voss or Fringe of Leaves, but it is about identity, and abdicating from the pressures of being just one person over a whole lifetime. It's not exactly transgender fiction, but, hey, it's a slippery beast of a book that isn't so much about ideas about gender and identity as a demonstration of the ideas.

And if the above sounds all academicy, then I studied White in Uni, and was impressed by the two books we did. Aug 27, Chris rated it it was amazing Shelves: I loved this book. It challenges ones own sense of gender identity; it has a unique narrative style; it's very sensual, finding the sacred in the sordid like only Patrick White can tell it; its definitley a re-readable!

Pity patrick white is seen as a has-been; i think he was ahead of his time. View all 3 comments. What an epic read. This is now my second Patrick White novel. I am beginning to understand what all the fuss is about surrounding this author. This man can write. He constructs his characters beautifully, often with a harsh brutality. His stories travel the continents and evoque a sense of the human condition.

A cathedral of love, pain, deceit and confusion. Who we are and how we know ourselves. I am ready for my next hit! Nov 09, George Ilsley rated it liked it Shelves: This is one of Patrick White's novel which failed to impress. Perhaps it just pales in comparison to his masterpieces, or else the failings just speaks to my own limitations at the time I was reading this. I felt he was holding back here, not writing close to the bone, as it were.

Perhaps I should re-read this work, and see if my more mature self would agree with my opinion from yesteryear. Aug 11, Sean rated it really liked it. This must have been a controversial and divisive text in its heyday. Progressive and brilliant as always with White. My admiration grows with every book. In an age of Caitlin Jenner one can see how far society has moved in the last 35 years.

This takes you back with a sympathetic look at someone living without the resources of the modern age. Nov 19, Carey Combe rated it it was ok. Didn't really go for this one May 25, Jay rated it it was amazing. Gender as a shifting puzzle box of images, of performances with intent to escape classifications, the ambiguity and elusiveness of beauty, and the devastating effects of colonialism.

The Tree of Man is a conjuration by which Patrick White summons and embodies an Australian national character, like the Witch of Endor who then pronounces "Behold! Riders in the Chariot, exploring the themes of Otherness and exile, racial and a host of attendant bigotries. Eye of the Storm, a reimagination of King Lear and one of his best enquiries into the values which are immanent in nature. In this his analysis follows that of Schiller and Batesonian Holism, and his work in its entirety could be characterized as an explication of Holistic philosophy. Of the short fiction collected in The Cockatoos, aside from the story that lent its name to the collection there is the savage The Night The Hunter, illuminated in feral glory.

Here one can see plainly the parallels and influences of Beckett and Tennessee Williams. Learn More - opens in a new window or tab Any international postage and import charges are paid in part to Pitney Bowes Inc. Learn More - opens in a new window or tab Any international postage is paid in part to Pitney Bowes Inc. Learn More - opens in a new window or tab. Report item - opens in a new window or tab. Description Postage and payments. Seller assumes all responsibility for this listing. A book that has been read and does not look new, but is in excellent condition.

No obvious damage to the book cover, with the dust jacket if applicable included for hard covers. No missing or damaged pages, no creases or tears, no underlining or highlighting of text, and no writing in the margins. Some identifying marks on the inside cover, but this is minimal. Very little wear and tear.

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See all condition definitions - opens in a new window or tab Read more about the condition. Will be clean, not soiled or stained. See full item description -. Take a look at our Returning an item help page for more details. You're covered by the eBay Money Back Guarantee if you receive an item that is not as described in the listing. Fine ,probably unread copy of 1st edition.

Pages and binding tight.

Boards with gold lettering are undamaged apart from very slight shelf wear on edges. The unclipped dustwrapper has two small nicks on lower edge but is otherwise bright and has been in a protective cover for many years. From a private collection.. West Coast Consulting Condition: First Edition; First Printing. Very Good in a Very Good dust jacket.

The Twyborn Affair

Sunning to jacket at spine. All domestic orders shipped protected in a Box. Rare Book Cellar Published: Jonathan Cape, unclipped DW light rubbing to spine joints, pp very tidy. Black cloth spine and tan paper over boards, dust jacket. Tight, handsome first edition.


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Uncorrected proof, a fine copy in the original printed wrappers. Jonathan Cape, London, The top edge of the text block has been tinted a pale red by the publisher, and shows signs of dustiness. Dustjacket price clipped, Christmas gift note from daughter to mother at the top of the front end page, no other damage.

Please refer to accompanying picture s. Very Good Condition Edition: Fine in near fine dustwrapper with spine faded. Between the Covers- Rare Books, Inc. A very good book in a good dust wrapper with some rubbing to the corners,and spine ends.. Brown cloth boards stamped in gilt on the spine.