'On Patrick White' by Humphrey McQueen

Reviewed by
December 1990–January 1991, no. 127

'On Patrick White' by Humphrey McQueen

Reviewed by
December 1990–January 1991, no. 127

I met Patrick White first in 1965. Reduced to 1.9s.6d, he was lying, in an American edition of Riders in the Chariot, on a sale table at Finney Isles department store in Brisbane.

So much has changed. Today, we would talk of remainders; the shop has been taken over by David Jones which has in turn been taken over by Adelaide Steamship which later bought up Grace Bros; prices are now given in dollar and cents.

Being an intellectual at twenty-two is a risky undertaking. After completing my Honours year but still living in Brisbane, I was being very careful to read books that my friends had not. By this method I read Wolf Solent. Earlier this year, White remarked that he had tried to read it when a schoolboy but had been too shocked and put it aside until he was in his twenties when he better appreciated Powys’s darkening solecism.

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