A Fringe of Leaves
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A Fringe of Leaves

3.65 of 5 stars 3.65  ·  rating details  ·  333 ratings  ·  25 reviews
On a beautiful April day in 1836 Mrs. Ellen Roxburgh boarded the Bristol Maid, bound for England from Australia. She and her fellow passengers are embarking on a far more perilous journey, however. The Bristol Maid is shipwrecked, and, taken prisoner by a tribe of aborigines, Mrs. Roxburgh journeys back to man's savage past. In order to survive, she redevelops her most bas...more
Paperback, 368 pages
Published 1983 by Penguin Books (first published 1976)
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Grant
I remember hating this book with a passion when I was reading it for a Year 10 English Literature review. But I also remember the satisfaction of completing it and being impressed how the book put me into the shoes of the heroine of the story. Even today I can remember her thoughts of the smells and dirt of early Australia. I also remember complaining to my friends that it took her 100 pages to get from the deck of the boat to the landing on the jetty; such was the detail of Patrick White's styl...more
Lexi Neame
oh dear lord. i had a dismal time reading this for a book report in high school. I was greatly puzzled by the line "He took her, and used her as a wheelbarrow". Yet somehow it's never left me...
Velvetink
bought today 1 of 12 books for $10 the lot.
have this edition also-----Paperback, 368 pages
Published 1983 by Penguin Books (first published 1976) for daughter - today 5/12/2012
Joan
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aliza
Voss is one of my favorite books so I was very excited to read this, but I found it a disappointment. I felt there was a lack of both complexity and subtlety when compared to White's other work. The first chapter is excellent and I found the sections dealing with the Ellen's stay in Tasmania to be the most compelling; the shipwreck and captivity sections (which take up a relatively short amount of text, given the focus they receive in reviews and even on the book flap) seemed unoriginal to me an...more
Tim Tillack
I really enjoyed my first Patrick White experience. The novel is a deeply distilled moral tale, which avoids puritanical brow beating, and opens up a space for contemplation of the human condition. The protagonist Ellen/Mrs Roxburgh is caught between two worlds and two classes, and it is this hybridity which allows her to survive her ordeal when her ship is shipwrecked and she is taken prisoner by aborigines.

Denise Waggoner
This is a hard, but brilliant read. At first you think you've mistakenly picked up a male version of a Jane Austen novel about manners, slights, and an English class system colonizing Australia. However, you soon recognize an underlying tension and have to stop yourself from rushing through because you know something horrific will take place, and that his use of language will be so beautiful and painful that you can't look away.
Erin
I really enjoyed this book! The writing style was a little hard for me to get used to at first, but mid-way through the book I couldn't put it down. The author deals with issues of class and race very interestingly, and the story itself was enthralling. Also, the fact that I've been interested in Australian Aborigine culture since I was a kid helps.
Glenda
Dec 02, 2008 Glenda rated it 3 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Glenda by: Ernie Love
I'm not sure how I feel about this book... It was certainly adventurous in many places, and I did care about the main character. But... I am not sure I liked the way aborigines were portrayed: as cannibals, slave-holders, violent people. I am also not sure that I liked some of the repetitiousness of the language, and the slow start of the story.
Darcy
I had to read this book for year 12 English Literature and upon my first reading absolutely HATED it! After reading further into White's use of language and gaining contextual information on the thoeries of Freud and Jung, I really enjoyed re-reading it. I wouldn't say it was a pleasurable book, but ultimately satisfying to produce my own reading.
Jan
In het Nederlands: een krans van bladeren (9045005840).
De victoriaans Engelse beschaving heeft het in het robuuste Van Diemensland (Australie) toch al zwaar te verduren, maar wat blijft er van de waarden over als je (letterlijk) naakt moet zien te overleven in de jungle, en hoe snel ben je die lessen dan weer vergeten?
Gretel
I've not decided what I thought of this book yet; which I think is the case for quite a few people in my English Lit class. Its not bad, but not great... I did like the way the first chapter became relevant later, and set the novel up.
Carey
I love this book. I've never enjoyed anything else by White but i have retread this book a number of times. Oddly I understand the heroine and identify with her issues. It's got some weirdness to it, but it's totally engaging
Jenny Esots
Initially rated this as a good cure for insomnia.
But warmed to his style of writing.
He makes you work with every sentence.
No skimming here.
Read for book club.
Glad we pushed ourselves.
Kerry
Even though The Tree of Man was ostensibly the book he won the Nobel prize for, I think this is his best. Great story with powerful symbolism of Australia's history. One of our best I think.
Dara
An excellent read! The main protagonist is a complex woman, fully realised and three-dimensional. The social, moral and physical challenges she faces make for compelling reading.
Julie
Loved this book, after you get through the first 40-50 pages...stick it out, it's worth it. Australia, 1840s...
Megan Douglas
It is a long time since I read this book. I remember it was hard going but truly satisfying.
BMK
Read it at high school and loathed it. Who knows what I would think of it now...
Rusty Wright
Very wordy without much to say. Lots of work to read, like wading through treacle.
Marie
Difficult to get interested in but improved halfway through.
Chirpy
I love his work misogynist and all that he was
Anamika Ghosh
Anamika Ghosh marked it as to-read
Apr 12, 2014
Nicole
Nicole is currently reading it
Apr 10, 2014
James Munt
James Munt marked it as to-read
Apr 09, 2014
Lichenia Green
Lichenia Green is currently reading it
Apr 07, 2014
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Patrick Victor Martindale White was an Australian author widely regarded as one of the major English-language novelists of the 20th century. From 1935 until death, he published twelve novels, two short story collections, eight plays, and non-fiction. His fiction freely employs shifting narrative vantages and the stream of consciousness technique. In 1973, he was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literat...more
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