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The Eye of the Storm

3.74  ·  Rating Details ·  404 Ratings  ·  41 Reviews
Elizabeth Hunter, an ex-socialite in her eighties, has a mystical experience during a summer storm in Sydney which transforms all her relationships: her existence becomes charged with a meaning which communicates itself to those around her. From this simple scenario Patrick White unfurls a monumental exploration of the tides of love and hate, comedy and tragedy, impotence ...more
Paperback, 592 pages
Published March 1st 1988 by Penguin Books (first published 1973)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30)
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Justin Evans
Mar 04, 2016 Justin Evans rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
More like 4.5. Eye isn't quite what I expected. My favorite White novels are plutonium-dense, deeply flawed in some way (i.e., there are totally gratuitous events, or the characters never seem to interact in any meaningful way--either on the realistic plane of, you know, dialogue, or on the intellectual plane of "what does this holocaust survivor have to do with this indigenous Australian aside from the obvious, and the obvious really doesn't take 500 pages to point out?"), but so singularly odd ...more
Vit Babenco
Jun 27, 2015 Vit Babenco rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Dreaming to inherit big money a son and a daughter return to their terminally ill mother but even on her deathbed she remains a tyrant and keeps ruling with an iron fist.
“She also knew she had no desire to die however stagnant her life became: she only hoped she would be allowed to experience again that state of pure, living bliss she was now and then allowed to enter.”
Patrick White was a psychologically bottomless writer and in his merciless analysis of the family relationships in The Eye of th
...more
Lisa
Sep 05, 2014 Lisa rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I finished reading this just in time for the release of the Fred Schepsi film.

I was hoping, as I began reading Patrick White’s The Eye of the Storm, that there would be heaps of erudite reviews out there in cyberspace, to help me make sense of it so that I didn’t write anything really inane here. Alas, no, hardly anybody has tackled it so at this stage I am free to interpret it any way I like and few but experts skulking in academia will be any the wiser. I expect I’ve missed heaps. Patrick Whit
...more
Joni Cornell
After much effort and commencing this book several times I managed to finish. It’s a very satisfying read though it can be hard going because of the stream of consciousness, which gives insight into the main characters as the narrative unfolds inside their minds (and so we can’t escape intimacy with them, or feeling what they do), and often with the ailing Elizabeth Hunter, her mind wanders into the past. The story is about those who gather at Elizabeth’s sick bed, those who nurse her and her ...more
Nicholas During
Oct 01, 2012 Nicholas During rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Nobody could say that Patrick White was not ambitious. Feel a bit hesitant to write much on this book since it's the territory of my dad and am more than happy to leave the territory to him. That said I'm in the habit of expressing my opinions here so I'll go on—though a warning, not that I believe anyone reads these reviews, don't comment with stuff about my dad's book about Patrick White. Alright?

Moving on. One can see why White was such a big deal in Australia. This is a big ambitious novel w
...more
Snort
Eager to right the wrong of YA fiction “Entice” (Jessical Shrivington) being the last Aussie-authored novel I read last year, I embarked (perhaps ambitiously) upon Patrick White’s “Eye of the Storm”. I had no intentions of punishing myself, but this is not a particularly easy read, and at 608 pages, is a Commitment. For those who are too weak to give this a bash, I highly recommend the recent movie adaptation.

Elizabeth Hunter is the dying matriach, living in the cruel grip of appetite. Her sight
...more
Jenni
Feb 04, 2014 Jenni rated it really liked it
A very challenging book to read, as the narrative is not self-explanatory and includes a lot of strange metaphors, a fair amount of French and German (didn't understand the German, but my understanding of the French helped a lot with the book, so I'm guessing I missed something in the German parts), and often goes into a stream of conciousness with missing punctuation.

If it wasn't for the extremely well built characters, I would have given up on this book a long time ago. However, the characters
...more
Paul Gaya Ochieng Simeon Juma
still struggling through this book. I want to put it down but I dont want to appear defeated....
Kath (bookishae)
Apr 23, 2016 Kath (bookishae) rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2016
When I started reading this book, I was confused about my feelings towards it. It was strangely fascinating and not at all what I expected. I'm not surprised that White was awarded with the Nobel prize.

The story is about an old woman, Elizabeth Hunter, who's on her death bed and still somehow maintains her strange kind of cruelty - and she keeps ruling with an iron fist. In the book we meet multiple people surrounding Elizabeth and we enter their minds along the way. We get to know their though
...more
Mark
Feb 19, 2014 Mark rated it it was ok
I'm on page 287 and, while not exhausted, I feel dishevelled. This is my first Patrick White book, although I've seen a few plays and so I knew to expect a pithy serving of wordplay mixed with a jaded and disappointed view of humanity.
But, he was a Nobel Prize winner as well as the holder of numerous literary prizes and a one-time Australian of the Year, so I knew that I was supposed to approach the altar with the right amount of respect.
And, he's good. His writing and observations, when they hi
...more
Sim Carter
My fellow blogger Louise at A Strong Belief in Wicker gave me an out when I wrote I was reading nobel laureate Patrick White's 1973 book "The Eye of the Storm" prior to seeing the movie.

"Oh dear, Patrick White is Hard. I've only read one- Fringe of Leaves. It took me 3 months to get through it. No one will think the less of you as a reader, or a person, if you have to give up!"

Would that I had listened! Louise is planning on skipping the book but seeing the film. I know this is a bit sacreligi
...more
Jeanette
Patrick White's The Eye of the Storm - love it or hate it - is a dense, layered read with sustained flashes of brilliance and insight.

Aging actor Sir Basil Hunter and his sister Dorothy (Princesse de Lascabanes) fly home to attend what they hope to be the deathbed of their 86 year-old mother, Elizabeth Hunter. Elizabeth, born to grinding poverty, married well; a beautiful, witty, alluring socialite whose manipulative and cruel streak has alienated her children. Elizabeth, it seems, is not ready
...more
Adam
Feb 04, 2012 Adam rated it liked it
'The worst thing about love between human beings....when you're prepared to love them they don't want it; when they do, it's you who can't bear the idea'... with those words, the character of Elizabeth Hunter is first etched. As my second Patrick White novel, this book allowed me to continue my fascination with words used, with incredible restraint, yet often intricately entwined. Even more so, I continue to marvel at White's ability to tap into the most basic of thoughts, often harshly jolting ...more
Makereta
May 19, 2013 Makereta rated it really liked it
I haven't given this novel five stars and I suspect I have withheld the last star to teach the author a lesson for forcing me to acknowledge his genius despite my own discomfort. It doesn't normally take me so long to read a book. But like an adult child reluctantly drawn to yet another interminable and strained Christmas dinner - or to a death-bed in this instance! - I was in equal parts attracted and repelled by Patrick White's relentless narrative, his atrociously painful insights, his ...more
James
The novel tells the story of Elizabeth Hunter, the powerful matriarch of her family, who still maintains a destructive iron grip on those who come to farewell her in her final moments upon her deathbed.
"Dorothy was breathless with resentment for what she herself could no more than half-remember, had perhaps only half discovered - on the banks of the Seine? in dreams? as part of that greatest of all obsessions, childhood? and how could Elizabeth Hunter have got possession of anything so secret? O
...more
Elisa
Attenzione. Questo romanzo va maneggiato con cura. Non è un romanzo qualsiasi, pensato per intrattenere il lettore. Oh no. Non richiede lettori distratti e vanesi. Staccate i cellulari. Portatevi in un angolo discreto della vostra vita. E ancoratevi a qualcosa - sedia, divano o persona amata. Ma soprattutto abbiate coraggio. Entrare nell'occhio del vostro uragano

Se Mario Fortunato l'avesse scritto nella prefazione avrei subito riposto il libro in attesa di un momento migliore. Se io avessi let
...more
Gordon
Dec 24, 2012 Gordon rated it really liked it
Shelves: fiction
The bed-ridden and semi-senile Elizabeth Hunter remains as predatory and self-centred as ever, while occasionally groping towards something more. "The Eye of the Storm" pulsates with image and language as it unearths not only her past but the present that past has made for her children and others around her. This is a book to drown in, and not only because it occasionally goes over my head: overwhelming in its stream of both petty and not-so-petty tragedies, at the same time the story is not ...more
Marlee
Ugh... That is really the only word that can accurately describe how I felt reading this book.
Why... This was the question I was constantly asking myself the whole time I was reading it.
What was this book? What actually happened in this book? Why so many damn time jumps?
I was so confused throughout this book, my mind thought it was better just to go to sleep... I never fall asleep during a book, so that's saying something. I can't say anything positive about this book, so I won't even bother.
...more
Gail Zachariah
This is a really long book and you get to know a host of unlikeable characters that come together during the last days of an aged, wealthy socialite. The old woman's quest for the transcendent is revealed and the complex relationships of her family and associates explored. Even though I didn't like any of the characters, I did find myself drawn into the complext relationship of the family, friends, and employees.
Travis Bird
Jun 11, 2008 Travis Bird rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: Nobody; not even a monkey I didn't like.
Reviewing the Jack Higgins book of the same title reminded me of this. I detest everything that the sickly old bastard wrote but this, amongst it all, I despise the most. I had to read it as part of a university unit on Australian literature. I'll refrain from using the language here that I reserve for this author but I have a blog where I speak more plainly. Check it out at http://retariusdenounces.blogspot.com...
George Ilsley
Nov 09, 2012 George Ilsley rated it it was amazing
Patrick White is an astonishing writer, but his books are not always easy to approach. This novel I started many times but I never got far. Books can be mysterious creatures, can they not? Sometimes they grab you and other times leave you cold. For whatever reasons, I started this book and the voice spoke to me and there you have it: an elderly women and her life in Australia.
BookAddict
Jul 27, 2012 BookAddict rated it it was ok
Shelves: abandoned
I had to let this go for now- life's too short and I've gone there before with books like Point Counter Point and The Secret History (rich people behaving appallingly). I might try again in a few years.
Berthe
Apr 08, 2013 Berthe rated it really liked it
Exquisitely, intimately observed characters yet White spares nobody. He is alternately scathing and empathetic. Can't wait to read more by this brilliant author... perhaps The Tree of Man or The Aunt's Story next.
Christopher Bounds
The great thing about Patrick is that, when you have read one of his books, you really know you have read one of his books… I enjoyed the satire and humour of this book – probably as close as he ever got to a satire?
Robyn333
Oct 15, 2011 Robyn333 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: everyone
Recommended to Robyn333 by: Because the movie was coming I wanted to read it first
This is my first Patrick White and I loved it. the story line is much more elaborate and touchs so many areas of a normal life.
His language is amazing, the descriptions of common place processes are just so elaborate which makes everything visual. I really enjoyed this book.

Susan Ford
Sep 30, 2011 Susan Ford rated it it was amazing
what is there left to say about this book? All the flare and furl of modernism but in such control - what a master of language - the Old Child is the perfect description of Eliz Hunter. And what a delight to read something that was so charcater driven rather than some rushing plot.
Ashley Bettencourt
Dec 06, 2014 Ashley Bettencourt rated it did not like it
This was a boring read, I felt like I was forcing myself to read it and that's normally my que to stop reading it. Don't get me wrong well written, but as I am reading it I keep thinking "Ok, get to the point". For me, it felt like ramblings of everyday life rather than an actual story.
Sally
Dec 11, 2011 Sally rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Patrick White stuns me with his writing ability, as always - great story with fascinating, eccentric characters. Beautiful writing about a sad topic - a dying mother( recalling her life) and the the gathering of her 2 dysfunctional siblings. Superb - I would read it again!
Amy
Aug 09, 2014 Amy rated it did not like it
Tried hard to read this book and, I've been told it is worth finishing. My problem was there was no one I had any empathy for the writing did not engage me and there are so many books to read.
Phillip Ramm
Mar 24, 2015 Phillip Ramm rated it it was amazing
Need to read this before I see the movie - a Patrick White novel as a movie? Unheard of, or not heard of enough?
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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 ...more
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