The Living and the Dead

The Living and the Dead

3.43 (99 ratings by Goodreads)
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To hesitate on the edge of life or to plunge in and risk change - this is the dilemma explored in "Living And The Dead". Patrick White's second novel is set in thirties London and portrays the complex ebb and flow of relationships within the Standish family. Mrs Standish, ageing but still beautiful, is drawn into secret liaisons, while her daughter Eden experiments openly and impulsively with left-wing politics and love affairs. Only the son, Elyot, remains an aloof and scholarly observer - until dramatic events shock him into sudden more

Product details

  • Paperback | 368 pages
  • 130 x 200 x 28mm | 399.16g
  • Vintage Publishing
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • 0099324318
  • 9780099324317
  • 249,114

Review Text

The author's first novel, Happy Valley, was an ironical picture of a community in reverse, stagnant and defeated. Here, narrowing the focus to three people, a mother, son and daughter, is an equally penetrating, but equally, limited study. White writes supremely, he is detached, precise, barbed, sensitized to the failures of the modern world; he is an observer and a subtle recorder. In his story, the son, a dilettante writer, withdrawn from the world, represents the dead; the daughter, overcoming her emotional sterility in her thirties, and defying the strictures of her class, has an affair with a carpenter, and in finding a positive credo, represents the living. And the mother, hovering between the two, escapes meaningless gestures of a frustrated life, by finding a certain elemental vitality in the fleeting passion for a vulgarian. Not a book for many; but the man can write. (Kirkus Reviews)show more

Review quote

"Scene after scene is worked out with exactness and subtlety which no second-string novelist can scent, far less nail to paper" Daily Telegraph "An unmistably major writer who commands a scope, power and sheer technical skill which put other more ambitious novelists into the shade" -- A. Alvarez "Brilliant and masterful" Nationshow more

Rating details

99 ratings
3.43 out of 5 stars
5 12% (12)
4 36% (36)
3 38% (38)
2 9% (9)
1 4% (4)
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