The Twyborn Affair

The Twyborn Affair


By (author) Patrick White


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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 432 pages
  • Dimensions: 129mm x 198mm x 25mm | 299g
  • Publication date: 15 June 1995
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099458217
  • ISBN 13: 9780099458210
  • Sales rank: 158,314

Product description

Eddie Twyborn is bisexual and beautiful, the son of a Judge and a drunken mother. With his androgynous hero - Eudoxia/Eddie/Eadith Twyborn - and through his search for identity, for self-affirmation and love in its many forms, Patrick White takes us into the ambiguous landscapes, sexual, psychological and spiritual, of the human condition.

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Review quote

"It challenges comparison with some of the world's most bizarre masterpieces." -- "Financial Times"

Editorial reviews

Transvestism, hermaphroditism, reincarnation, or just plain literary whimsy? You won't know which of these is the key to White's wide-rangingly playful, sometimes deeply beautiful (and sometimes airy-fairy) novel until the last few pages, when it's a little more than half-revealed. We begin in 1914, on the Riviera, where Eudoxia, an Australian "woman," is the mistress of a wealthy, aged Greek; she's plagued this one summer, though, by the presence of one Joan Golson, a Sydney matron on holiday who was a long-time lover of Eudoxia's mother, Eadie Twyborn. Then. . . skip ahead a few years: it's after the war, and now, Orlando-style, Eudoxia is named Eddie - yes, a male. After seeing combat in France, Eddie returns Down Under and gets a job, through a friend of the family, working as a "jackeroo" - a ranchhand - on a large sheep ranch in the outback. There, it's up for grabs whom he more lusts after: the virile foreman Don Prowse or the ranch-owner's wife, Marcia Lushington. (No light touches these names.) In fact, he has them both, which cancels them out equally - and then he's off. So much for Eddie. The curtain reopens years later on Eadith Trist, "the bawd of Beckwith Street," owner of an exclusive London bordello but chaste as a nun herself (by now the reader can well suspect why). And when, just as London begins to be German-bombed, Eadith encounters her mother Eadie, and readies herself to be revealed, she's killed in the street by a falling building. Silly? Yes. But out of this baroque, shadowed, I-don't-give-a-damn invention, White draws some astonishingly lovely tones; the novella-like structure and the things-are-not-what-they-seem lightness allow him to linger on his style, which often responds marvelously. Stare at it too hard and this fabrication will collapse into a pile of sequins. But if you accept the terms of the waltz with Eudoxia/Eddie/Eadith, it's fun and - for White's shining prose - sometimes even more than that. (Kirkus Reviews)