The Hanging Garden: Book summary and reviews of The Hanging Garden by Patrick White

The Hanging Garden

By Patrick White

The Hanging Garden

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About this book

Book Summary

From the Nobel Prize-winning author of The Eye of the Storm comes a vivid, visceral tale of childhood friendship and sexual awakening from beyond the echoes of World War II.

Sydney, Australia, 1942. Two children, on the cusp of adolescence, have been spirited away from the war in Europe and given shelter in a house on Neutral Bay, taken in by the charity of an old widow who wants little to do with them. The boy, Gilbert, has escaped the Blitz. The girl, Eirene, lost her father in a Greek prison. Left to their own devices, the children forge a friendship of startling honesty, forming a bond of uncommon complexity that they sense will shape their destinies for years to come.

The first part of an unfinished novel, The Hanging Garden is a breathtaking and fully satisfying work that reads as a complete story. Seamlessly shifting among points of view, and written in dazzling prose, Patrick White's mastery of style and highly inventive storytelling will transport you as the work of few writers can.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. [The Hanging Garden is] a complete, complex, and beautiful portrait, an important addition to classic contemporary fiction." - Publishers Weekly

"Even in context, a fragmented work, primarily of interest to White completists." - Kirkus Reviews

"One of the most vivid, erotically charged, emotionally wrenching works of fiction I've read this century." - The Canberra Times (Australia)

"White's novels [are] boldly ambitious, inventive, sensual, eloquent…shrewd and tender about its two protagonists." - The Spectator (UK)

"The late, virtuosic performance of a master. Here is White conjuring in 200 pages one of the most vivid, erotically charged, emotionally wrenching works of fiction, I've read this century." - The Age (Australia)

"The Hanging Garden returns fiction to greatness. Reading it brings exhilaration, tinged with dismay at our diminished expectations of the literary novel ... A gift." - The Monthly (Australia)

"White's incessant questions - Is there anything beyond the physical world? May there be loving human unions beyond the carnal? - are posed here in ways as profound and subtle as anywhere else in his work. The Hanging Garden recalls us to the truth that great novels are those where the free play of the author's imagination reveals the fetters of gender or caste we wear in reality." - The Australian

"Here, too, is the Sydney of White's childhood - lush, humid, sensual, a magic place in which children might hide themselves…It is an elegant, elegiac ending to a work that - however conceived in its full extent—brims with freshness and acuity. The Hanging Garden may be unfinished, but it does not feel incomplete." - Peter Pierce, The Canberra Times

"Always engaging and intermittently brilliant." - Australian Book Review

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More Information

Patrick White was born in England 1912 and raised in Australia. He became the most revered figure in modern Australian literature, and was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. He died in September 1990.

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