Voss

Voss

Paperback

By (author) Patrick White

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  • Publisher: VINTAGE
  • Format: Paperback | 464 pages
  • Dimensions: 128mm x 194mm x 30mm | 299g
  • Publication date: 21 July 1994
  • Publication City/Country: London
  • ISBN 10: 0099324717
  • ISBN 13: 9780099324713
  • Sales rank: 22,556

Product description

Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a naive young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent, and as hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality.

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Author information

Patrick White was born in England in 1912 and taken to Australia, where his father owned a sheep farm, when he was six months old. He was educated in England at Cheltenham college and King's College, Cambridge. He settled in London, where he wrote several unpublished novels, then served in the RAF during the war. He returned to Australia after the war. White became the most considerable figure in modern Australian literature, awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. The great poet of Australian landscape, he turned its vast empty spaces into great mythic landscapes of the soul. His position as a man of letters was controversial, provoked by his acerbic, unpredictable public statements and his belief that it is eccentric individuals who offer the only hope of salvation. He died in September 1990.

Review quote

Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a naive young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent, and as hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality.

Editorial reviews

There is immense challenge in the substance of this novel of Australia's wilderness and the strange, tortured man, Voss, who-back in 1850- led an ill-assorted expedition into the unknown. Voss was a German, a mystery man who managed to win backing without trust or liking. His chief backer was a rancher-promoter named Bonner- and it is here the story starts. Here, too, are planted the seeds of the story within the story, the strange, remote romance between Bonner's impecunious niece, Laura Trevelyan, and the man Voss. Bonner was a resident of Sydney, a busy colonial town, where the women were absorbed in the petty details of a self conscious social whirl. While this went on, the plans grew for the expedition into the uncharted wilderness; the applicants were accepted, the equipment collected, and finally the expedition sets forth. Bit by bit one gets to know the eccentricities, the lack of adaptability of one after another. There's a stopover for supplies at one elaborately equipped ranch- at another sparsely equipped one- and at each new members join the group. Hardshipe, dangers, insecurities bring out the worst, until the group splits into two sectors, separates, and all is lost. Only two natives-and one white- make a modicum of escape. While back in Sydney, the backers are fed sparse information and Laura lives for the rare letters- senses disaster- and accepts a future of unwedded widowhood...One needs perspective to grasp the achievement of this book, for- in even greater degree than I felt it in The Tree of Man White has chosen to tell his story in the most involuted, oblique fashion, often seeming awkward and confused, so that the process of reading it is a burden. That he has been accepted as Australia's foremost novelist is somewhat baffling to our public. This has been chosen as August Book of the Month-which may take it over the first hurdle. (Kirkus Reviews)

Back cover copy

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ROBERT MACFARLANE 'The outstanding figure in Australian fiction' New York Times Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a naïve young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent, and as hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality. See also: Happy Valley