Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “A Fringe of Leaves” as Want to Read:
A Fringe of Leaves
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

A Fringe of Leaves

3.63  ·  Rating Details  ·  499 Ratings  ·  39 Reviews
In the experiences that follow, she discovers human savagery and her own sensuality. It has some basis in the true story of Eliza Fraser, who was shipwrecked off Queensland in 1836.
Published March 2nd 1993 by Penguin Classics (first published 1976)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about A Fringe of Leaves, please sign up.

Be the first to ask a question about A Fringe of Leaves

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 1,026)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  Rating Details
Vit Babenco
Sep 20, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“And the eyes of them both were opened, and they knew that they were naked; and they sewed fig leaves together, and made themselves aprons.” Genesis 3:7
Thus a fringe of leaves was a first artificial product of civilization. When God saw Adam and Eve wearing loincloths he understood that they were now ashamed of their natural nakedness so the human beings have become hypocritical and it was a real downfall of the mankind in the eyes of God…
A Fringe of Leaves is a gradual voyage of the heroine dow
Feb 20, 2016 Will rated it it was amazing
I hate-read this for a 100 pages before being won over by (in order of appearance) a rich lady screaming "A watercolor!", an amateur horticulturist law student, a dead pug dog at sea, and finally this:
After enjoying the luxury of a postponed, ungainly, and not unexpectedly, painful stool, Austin Roxburgh was wandering with little regard for purpose or direction, kicking at the solid though harsh ground for the simple pleasure of renewing acquaintance with primordial substance.
So he took a shit
Roger Norman
Mar 06, 2015 Roger Norman rated it really liked it
A Fringe of Leaves must be one of the more accessible of Patrick's White's novels, easier to read, certainly, than Voss, which I read as an A level set text, fifty years ago and which nearly put me off this writer for good. Visits to Oz and a secondhand copy of David Marr's biography put me back on the track, and A Fringe of Leaves was what I picked up. It started off by reminding me of Virginia Woolf, with a touch of Henry James - Woolf because of the depth and sensitivity of the characterisati ...more
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
Kristin Winkler
Jan 18, 2015 Kristin Winkler rated it did not like it
Some of the most overwrought writing I've read in a long time. It's almost as if the author sat with a Thesaurus and picked a random replacement word for every appropriate word. Often I was just scratching my head wondering what he was trying to say. While the story is naturally compelling, he veils the truth in so much sludge that it loses its drama.

White might have won the Nobel Prize, but certainly not for this book.
Dec 30, 2009 Lexi rated it did not like it
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...
Gregory Marris
Dec 08, 2015 Gregory Marris rated it really liked it
I recently picked up a first edition of this book in a second hand bookshop. I have for some time been considering that I must give Patrick White another go. Years ago I read The Aunt's Story and the only thing I can recall about it was that it contained lots of untranslated French passages which at the time I found tiring and elitist. Now that I have read A Fringe of Leaves I would even be willing to return to The Aunt's Story to give it a second chance! White's style of writing put me in mind ...more
Alec Johnsson
Apr 25, 2016 Alec Johnsson rated it it was amazing
The title, A Fringe of Leaves, refers—we learn over halfway through the book—to the vine-like cord that Ellen Roxburgh ties around herself to keep hold of the one piece of “civilization” (in the narrow sense that she would likely use that broad word) that she has left—her wedding ring. This scene of despondence comes around the time when the novel transitions, abruptly yet smoothly, from what is essentially an old-fashioned post-Regency tale moved to penal-colonial Australia to a white-knuckle s ...more
I finished reading this book almost two weeks ago and have been trying to form a review in my head that will do this story justice. There is too much to this story to try to convey in a paragraph or two. First and most important for me is the language, Patrick White is a superb writer. He does not waste words, there are no clever similies, his writing is rich, but not so dense as to be difficult. The story is compelling, a young country girl, Ellen Gluyas marries Austin Roxburgh, a sickly, frail ...more
Dec 05, 2012 Velvetink rated it really liked it
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
Rusty Wright
Dec 26, 2010 Rusty Wright rated it did not like it
Shelves: abandonded
Very wordy without much to say. Lots of work to read, like wading through treacle.
Aug 20, 2014 Heather rated it did not like it
Don't waste your time.
Jun 14, 2011 Joan rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: r5-group
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Feb 22, 2016 John rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: own, fiction, mexico
Wow, this was a very hard one for me to rate, it was like a rollercoaster, I would give the terrible beginning a one, then it shot up to a 5 for half the book, then down, down and down . so I averaged it out to a 2.5 . I have three more of the authors books so will read them soon the winning of the Nobel prize does not influence me in any way. I have read too many Nobel winning books which I ended up not liking.
Adriano Del Orange
Aug 04, 2015 Adriano Del Orange rated it liked it
I've read three Patrick White novels and given myself a pat on the back for completing each one. For all his imagination and the beauty of his prose, I found them to be more of an endurance test than a pleasure. I re-read most books, but I doubt if this is an experience I will be repeating.
May 12, 2012 Aliza rated it liked it
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
Jenetta Haim
Apr 16, 2015 Jenetta Haim rated it really liked it
Great book. Interesting and short.
Nov 01, 2014 Sheridan rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Anyone over 15 years.
When I saw Fringe of Leaves in a 2ndhand bookshop I thought I must give Patrick White a go, had heard so much about him. I was certainly not disappointed, I loved this book. It is at once an action story which propels you forward, and a detailed delving into the human spirit and learned morality. The characters are beautifully drawn, especially Ellen, who seems cast in the role of captive from a young age.
I very much like White's style of prose, he has the power to make you look to your own lif
Tim Tillack
May 30, 2012 Tim Tillack rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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
Feb 09, 2013 Denise Waggoner rated it really liked it
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.
Oct 01, 2007 Erin rated it it was amazing
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.
Dec 02, 2008 Glenda rated it liked it
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 Burns
Jun 22, 2013 Darcy Burns rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Feb 24, 2016 Cindy rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-2016
This is an odd but deeply compelling book.the language used or that the authors chooses to use, feels slightly Dickensian and very appropriate for the story. I was moved, challenged, delighted and impressed by this curious book.
Lichenia Green
Apr 25, 2014 Lichenia Green rated it it was amazing
Loved it
Jan 25, 2012 Jan rated it liked it
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?
Mar 06, 2012 Gretel added it
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.
Jul 06, 2012 Carey rated it really liked it
Shelves: owned
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
Jan 03, 2013 Jenny Esots rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
Sep 30, 2013 Kerry rated it it was amazing
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.
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 34 35 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »
  • Johnno
  • Drylands
  • Tirra Lirra by the River
  • Playmaker
  • Grand Days
  • For Love Alone
  • Fortunes of Richard Mahony
  • The Fat Man in History
  • Patrick White: A Life
  • For the Term of His Natural Life
  • Carpentaria
  • Power Without Glory
  • My Brother Jack
  • Wanting
  • Wake in Fright: Filmed as The Outback
  • That Eye, the Sky
  • My Brilliant Career
  • Where Song Began: Australia's Birds and How They Changed the World
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
More about Patrick White...

Share This Book