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The Aunt's Story (Penguin Twentieth…
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The Aunt's Story (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics) (original 1948; edição 1986)

por Patrick White (Autor)

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297867,385 (3.45)1 / 29
"With the death of her mother, middle-aged Theodora Goodman contemplates the desert of her life. Freed from the trammels of convention, she leaves Australia for a European tour and becomes involved with the residents of a small French hotel. But creating other people's lives, even in love and pity, can lead to madness. Her ability to reconcile joy and sorrow is an unbearable torture to her. On the journey home, Theodora finds there is little to choose between the reality of illusion and the illusion of reality. She looks for peace, even if it is beyond the borders of insanity."--Provided by publisher.… (mais)
Membro:fruittwist000
Título:The Aunt's Story (Penguin Twentieth Century Classics)
Autores:Patrick White (Autor)
Informação:Penguin Books (1986), 288 pages
Colecções:A sua biblioteca
Avaliação:
Etiquetas:Penguin

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The Aunt's Story por Patrick White (1948)

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Mostrando 1-5 de 8 (seguinte | mostrar todos)
"[H]er contentment filled the morning, the heavy, round, golden morning, sounding its red hibiscus note. She had waited sometimes for something to happen. Now existence justified itself." (117)
"Theodora did not turn because she knew that Mr. Rapallo would not possess a face. She accepted his dark hand. No one remembered Mr. Rapallo's face. He was Nicois, perhaps, or even a Corsican. Mr. Rapallo, you felt, would disappear." (165)
"Oh, but I am right", said Lieselotte. "We have destroyed so much, but we have not destroyed enough. We must destroy everything, everything, even ourselves. Then at last when there is nothing, perhaps we shall live." (176)
"It is strange, and why are we here?", said the voice of Theodora Goodman, parting the water.
"I guess we have to be somewhere," replied Mrs. Rapallo (201)
"You are intoxicated by your own melancholy", said Sokolnikov. "You expect too much of life". (214)
"[T]here was no end to the lives of Theodora Goodman. They met and parted, met and parted, movingly" (300) ( )
  therebelprince | Nov 15, 2020 |
Story of a complex lifetime of an aunt, told with all of White's substantial skill. ( )
  brakketh | Nov 22, 2019 |
A very odd little book, as if Henry James and D. H. Lawrence had collaborated on a miniature Magic Mountain*, then given it an Australian bildungsroman opening section for no very obvious reason. Does that appeal to anyone? I presume not.

Despite which, I'm really looking forward to re-reading this. White does things with words that are literally (in the literal, figurative, literal sense of literal) incredible, and the second section, in which our heroine and/or one of her friends goes insane, is a masterpiece. But it's a masterpiece that I didn't realize was a masterpiece until the section had ended, and at times it felt very, very pointless. The opening section, which describes aunt Theodora's childhood, is also a bit cliched: the 'different' young girl has trouble fitting in and so on.

But re-reading will solve these problems. I suspect that if you know from the outset what's happening, you'll find A'sS enjoyable and moving.

*: does anyone else think Patrick White looked an awful lot like Thomas Mann? ( )
  stillatim | Dec 29, 2013 |
Theodora Goodman goes quietly insane in Patrick White’s enigmatic third novel: The Aunt’s story. Symbolism abounds as White explores the fragmentary nature of Theodora’s mind. It is a very cleverly written novel, but a bit too clever maybe in the long second section; Jardin Exotique, where it is far from clear, what if anything is actually happening.

The novel opens with the death of Theodora’s mother the old Mrs Goodman. Theodora has never married she is in her mid forties and has become the dutiful daughter whose principal role is as her mother’s carer. Her sister Fanny and family arrive for the funeral and Theodora reflects back on her life. It soon becomes clear that she feels differently to most people around her, she cannot connect with other people and White puts this thought in the first person::

“I shall never overcome the distances, felt Theodora. And because she was like this, she found consolation in the deal mirror in the room for four. When she was done she spoke to the face that had now begun to form, its bone.”

Fanny says of her sister “Sometimes Theo you behave as if you are quite mad”. Theodora’s reflections take us back to incidents in her home life and at school. During this section White piles on the symbolism: roses, bones, rocks, mirrors, hats and music are all frequent motifs and while there is some fine writing around these ideas, it is never really clear what they all signify. They become a little claustrophobic, perhaps like the product of a mind that is losing its grip on reality.

The meat of the book is in the long second part: Jardin Exotique. Theodora is free after her mother’s death to explore her “other lives”. She travels, finally ending up at the Hotel Du Midi in the South of France that advertises a Jardin Exotique. On arrival the manager says that the hotel has many guests that stay a long time: General Sokolnikov and Madam Rapello have been residents for years. It is in the hotel and garden that Theodora seems to fragment before our very eyes. She imagines herself in the lives of the guests in the hotel. When she first meets the young girl Katina in the garden White says:

“And Theodora Goodman had become a mirror, held to the girl’s experience. Their eyes were interchangeable, like the distant unrelated lives mingling for a moment in sleep.”

The novel’s point of view is now the fragmented thoughts of Theodora, it is very cleverly done, but also disconcerting because Theodora is finding it difficult to distinguish between her other imagined lives and reality. She becomes the Generals sister; Ludmilla and Mrs Rapello’s best friend and other characters that appear may or may not exist. White uses a stream of conscious technique to reflect the thoughts in Theodora’s head, they sometimes jump about, become confused as though in a veil of fog or smoke. I found myself re-reading passages to get some sort of grip on what was happening and like Theodora I found it difficult to ascertain what was real and what was not.

White compares Theodora’s insanity obliquely with the insanity in Europe that led up to the second world war. It ended in a massive conflagration and there is something similar in the novel as the Hotel Du Midi burns down and Theodora is released again. Now she is quite mad and she travels to America in the short and beautifully written final part of the novel: Holstius.

Theodora now does not fit anywhere not even in other peoples lives and White’s hauntingly convincing prose in this section portrays a woman, travelling, searching for a place to belong, but finding only kindness, and in a new landscape and a new environment, this is not enough.
The music in her head is now of a harmony that means she has come to a realisation about herself and will accept her fate. I love this passage describing her journey across America by train:

“Sometimes against the full golden theme of corn and the white pizzicato of the telephone wires there was a counterpoint of houses. Theodora Goodman sat. The other side of the incessant train she could read the music off. There were the single notes of houses, that gathered into gravely structural phrases. There was a smooth passage of ponds and trees. There was a big bass barn. All the square faces of the wooden houses, as they came, overflowed with solemnity, that was a solemnity of living, a passage of days. Where children played with tins, or a girl waited at a window, or calves lolloped in long grass, it was a frill of flutes twisted round a higher theme, to grace, but only grace, the solemnity of living and of days. There were now two coiled themes. There was the flowing corn song, and the deliberate accompaniment of houses, which did not impede, however structural, because it was part of the same integrity of purpose and of being”

Patrick White takes more risks here than with his previous novel The Living and the Dead. It also has more shape and structure to it, especially with the final part tying things together so wonderfully. His writing throughout is both witty and profound with some purple patches that we expect from a writer of his quality and here he shows real compassion for his central character without any trace of the misogyny that he is sometimes accused of. However for me he has not yet managed to involve the reader completely in his storytelling and characterisation, I still feel half a step away, I know that in subsequent novels he will bring me closer to what he is trying to achieve, but it is not quite there in The Aunt’s Story. A four star read, nonetheless ( )
14 vote baswood | Apr 1, 2012 |
This early work is not one of White's best. However, I always find White's work rewarding and worth re-reading. I read this after reading most of his other work, so it suffered by comparison. ( )
  georgekilsley | Aug 9, 2010 |
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But old Mrs. Goodman did die at last.
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"With the death of her mother, middle-aged Theodora Goodman contemplates the desert of her life. Freed from the trammels of convention, she leaves Australia for a European tour and becomes involved with the residents of a small French hotel. But creating other people's lives, even in love and pity, can lead to madness. Her ability to reconcile joy and sorrow is an unbearable torture to her. On the journey home, Theodora finds there is little to choose between the reality of illusion and the illusion of reality. She looks for peace, even if it is beyond the borders of insanity."--Provided by publisher.

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