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Voss

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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  1,943 Ratings  ·  166 Reviews
Join J. M. Coetzee and Thomas Keneally in rediscovering Nobel Laureate Patrick White

In 1973, Australian writer Patrick White was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature "for an epic and psychological narrative art which has introduced a new continent into literature." Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is White's best-known book, a sweeping novel about a secret passi
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Paperback, Penguin Classics, 440 pages
Published January 27th 2009 by Penguin Books Ltd (first published 1957)
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Steven  Godin
Patrick White's 1957 novel I found to be an immensely challenging read, not what I was expecting, and I am still unclear whether my scoring is accurate, going by my first thoughts on completion, I think it's just about right, thinking a little deeper over the coming days it may well change. The story itself was certainly a case of substance over style, which as it turned out, was one of it's big strengths, and White's sentencing had a purposeful way of switching between brisk flashes of brillian ...more
Bruce
Feb 12, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Patrick White, the 20th century Australian Nobel Prize in Literature winner, published Voss in 1957. A quintessentially modernist novel, it defies easy description. Set in colonial Australia, its plot is complex and its exploration of psychological issues and depths is multi-layered. The fundamental plot is quickly told. The community of Europeans clustering in and around Sydney is intrigued by the arrival of Voss, a German explorer intent on crossing the continent for the first time. During his ...more
Jonfaith
Jun 15, 2010 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Apparently White listened repeatedly to Alban Berg's violin concerto while composing Voss. I was made aware of this about half way through. I lazily experimented but found myself engulfed in the novel's emotional torrents. Maybe my ears popped, but I wasn't aware of the music.

Voss is a story of volition. It is sun-baked and agonizing. Quickly thereafter I bought a half dozen of White's other works but Voss remains the only one I've finished.

Not to elaborate but Voss is about curiosity and will.
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4triplezed
In the end I actually began to despise this book. Overwrought and pretentious in my opinion. A simple story based on an explorer disappearing in outback Australia during colonial times I never felt that the simplicity of the story was saved by the writing. Challenging prose is fine by me but this went beyond a challenge.

I almost feel that I read this book two and a half times as I read and reread passage after passage to try and get the nuances that were obviously completely above my tiny littl
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Teresa
Dec 31, 2016 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Já li mais de metade e não gosto de nada; nem da escrita, nem das personagens, nem do enredo. Pensei em desistir lá muito atrás, mas os escritos na badana impediram-me:

"Uma das maiores obras-primas em prosa do século xx. [...] As suas páginas abrem-se como uma vasta fissura geológica na paisagem domesticada da ficção de língua inglesa. [...] Não é que o livro seja perfeito - a sua escala é demasiado grandiosa: está para lá da perfeição."
Lindsay Clark, in The Independent

"Patrick White era um gén
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Vit Babenco
Feb 05, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“They realized, standing on the wharf, that the orderly, grey, past life was of no significance. They had reached that point at which they would be offered up, in varying degrees, to chaos or to heroism. So they were shaking with their discovery, beside the water, as the crude, presumptuous town stretched out behind them, was reeling on its man-made foundations in the sour earth. Nothing was tried yet, or established, only promised.”
Patrick White purposely writes in such a manner that a reader t
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Fábio Martins
Nov 16, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Estou certo que existem inúmeras teorias interpretativas deste colosso literário, para o engrossar das quais pouco teria a contribuir.

Voss é um livro complexo- brutal, simbólico,inovador, ousado e possuidor de uma respiração muito própria,de uma cadência muito particular, à qual nos devemos acomodar sob pena de lhe passar absolutamente ao lado. É um livro para ler em alerta,mas que se lê, depois,sem esforço e com deleite quase ininterrupto.

A perspectiva nietzschiana da vontade e da busca de vo
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Laura
This book is based upon the life of the nineteenth-century Prussian explorer and naturalist Ludwig Leichhardt who disappeared whilst on an expedition into the Australian outback.

A magnificent and unforgettable book to be read by all fans of Australian fiction.
K.D. Absolutely
Dec 29, 2010 rated it liked it
Recommended to K.D. by: 501 Must Read Books; 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (2006-2010)
Very interesting story. It is about crossing the then unexplored center of the vast Australian continent. Look at the globe. Australia is a big piece of land in the lower part of the Southern hemisphere. According to Wiki, a big part of that piece of land are desserts and one of the first land explorer who attempted to cross it from coast-to-coast, was a Prussian explorer, Ludwig Leichhardt (1814-1848), who disappered in the Australian outback while doing his 3rd land exploration.

In this 1957 b
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Isabelle
Mar 01, 2013 rated it it was amazing
A Patrick White novel usually takes its time, I rarely made I through one in less than three weeks (they’re so well written, you want to read every sentence thrice), and while I actually began Voss in mid-December, February still didn’t find me much farther than page 20…

Mind you, I have been prepared, the 1st White novel I read was Riders in the Chariot, allegedly his best. Having finished that masterpiece I could hardly hope for another one of the same calibre to turn up any time soon, or so I
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Vasco Simões
Sentimentos contraditórios. Se por um lado este White foi Nobel e tem prosas de grande qualidade (e percebe-se isso logo), por outro tem momentos bastante entediantes e que nunca mais acabam. A história tem potencial para ser uma aventura mas acho que está pouco explorada. Para quem não tem muita paciência sinceramente nem tentem. Se são daqueles que não desistem, como eu, força aí e coragem.
Justin Evans
Jul 15, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: fiction
File under: novels whose eponymous character is not the most interesting character in the book. Right alongside 'Anna Karenina,' 'Lila,' 'Moby Dick,' and the central book in this tradition, 'Frankenstein.'

Anyway, this Patrick White novel, you will be surprised to learn, is about the internal states of a small number of characters, the heroes among whom don't fit in, the villains among whom fit in very well. The heroes are mystics and idealists, gazing longingly through this (natural) world at t
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notgettingenough
Now why doesn't it surprise me that not one of my well read high brow friends, Australian or otherwise, has read this Nobel Prize winner?

Let alone reviewed it....

I'd do it myself, but why bother when Fred Dagg has this to say about writing The Great Australian Novel. Australians, if you haven't heard this, it's hilarious. For others, it is still very funny (he is great on Tolstoy), but there will be the odd reference you don't get.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bc50Gc...
Marc
Aug 10, 2012 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Wow, this was a surprise! At first it seemed to be a classic adventure story about a sturdy German, named Voss, who was the first ever to make the passage through Australia, from east to west, around 1840. This story is mixed with the platonic lovestory between this Voss-character and the headstrong lady Laura. But the book offers much more than this: it is a derisive portrait of society in Sydney (in the manner of Jane Austen), an accumulation of wisdom on life, death and love (in the manner of ...more
Lynne
Jun 13, 2012 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I'd avoided the books of Patrick White up till now because I'd heard he was difficult. With this year being the Centennary of his birth and a lot of arts programs being devoted to this, I decided to see what the fuss was all about. Now I'm only sorry I didn't pick him up earlier. From the very first page of this book, I was totally engaged. Inspired by the story of explorer Ludwig Leichardt who died in the Australian desert in 1849, it's a powerful narrative told in some of the most beautiful an ...more
TheGirlBytheSeaofCortez
Lately I’ve been searching for really outstanding books set in Australia to read, and that search led me to Australia’s first, and so far only, Nobel Prize winner, Patrick White and his extraordinary novel, Voss. Voss is the fictionalized account of the life of German explorer Ludwig Leichardt and his 1848 trek into the heart of the Australian desert where only aboriginal tribesmen dared to roam, and his subsequent disappearance. Much has been made of White’s fictionalization of the life of a re ...more
Kimbofo
Set in 19th century Australia, Voss charts the journey of a German naturalist, Johann Ulrich Voss, keen to explore inland Australia. It is largely based on the exploits of Ludwig Leichhardt, a legendary Prussian explorer, who disappeared in 1848 while midway through an ambitious expedition to cross the continent from east to west. To this day, no one quite knows what happened to him.

Voss not only tells the story of that fateful expedition, it also tells the (fictional) story of the woman he left
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Nuno Simões
Nov 21, 2017 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
portentoso!
Chris
May 05, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: lovers of words
Recommended to Chris by: Paul "the man" Stern
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
James Murphy
This is the first Patrick White novel I've read. I was prepared for central characters larger than life and perceived as mythic, as is Voss himself and his parallel, Laura Trevelyan. I wasn't surprised by a sense of divinity, of a journey into a kind of hell. What's impressive is the way White uses language, how he controls impressions and the emphasis of his narrative with so few words. It's the same way a poet isolates a single word on a line or uses a space to point to meaning. So White can g ...more
João Reis
May 25, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Brilliant.
El
Apr 29, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to El by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die (210/1001)
Exploration stories are love.

Primarily taking place in 1845, Johann Ulrich Voss, a German explorer, introduces the reader to the Australian outback by setting out across the continent. The story begins with Voss meeting Laura Trevalyan, a young orphaned woman who is new to the colony. Her uncle is funding Voss's expedition.

The story progresses into the outback and is almost the entirety of the book. Voss's expedition travels through both the dry and the wet lands, meeting adversity at every step
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Alison
To summarise: this is a beautifully written, evocative novel, with lots of philosophical and theological exploration. And maybe, if it wasn't for my huge aversion to the existential-angst-in-the-wilderness genre, I might have actually enjoyed it. But then there is the fact that I kinda found it, well, - I want to say 'wrong', but you can't really accuse great literature of being wrong, so we'll go with 'presents a view of the world that I don't share', or alternatively, "OMG enuff about the suff ...more
Roger Brunyate
Into the Wilderness

The book opens with the delicacy of a Jane Austen. A young woman, alone in a Sydney drawing-room on a quiet Sunday morning around 1845, reluctantly receives a visitor from abroad. "That strange, foreign men should come on a Sunday when she herself had ventured on a headache was quite exasperating." The headache on which Laura Trevelyan, the heroine, has so deliciously ventured is a cover for her recent loss of faith in conventional Christianity, yet the vast novel that follows
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Leonie
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Set in 1840's Australia. Voss is an intense German explorer being sponsored by Laura Trevelyan's uncle. Laura is the thoughtful, self-sufficient introvert orphan niece in a bustling socially ambitious family. Voss, a straggly, awkward figure dressed stiffly in black would be "ludicrous, if not for his arrogance" and does his best to ignore others. While Voss is preparing to set out into the bush he has a handful of encounters with Laura which reflect animosity, awkwardness and recognition. Their ...more
Stephen Durrant
Sep 24, 2009 rated it liked it
This novel has moments of mythic power, and White writes with originality and strength: "There comes a moment when an individual who is too honest to take refuge in the old illusion of self-importance is suspended agonizingly between the flat sky and the flat earth, and prayer is no more than a slight gumminess on the roof of the mouth" (p. 325). Themes of self-importance AND humility resonate throughout this story of a mysterious German, Voss, who leads a group of explorers and ne'er-do-wells o ...more
Lesley
Oct 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I read this book as a teenager and again recently as an adult. It's an extraordinary work, dark and hallucinatory and strange, the terrible story of Voss and his little group of explorers who venture into the interior of the Australian outback. It's also the story of Voss's love for Laura Trevelyan, who had the disadvantage in the Australia of those days of being clever and bookish. This is not a page turner. White makes no concessions. It's up to the reader to take it or leave it. The words hav ...more
Mij Woodward
I gave this book one star, and on an objective level, this is unfair, since I only made it through the first chapter, page 25 of 442 pages.

However, this is without a doubt the most difficult book I have ever started to read.

Sentences I would have to read again, and then again, to get the meaning.

And then, just barely catching the meaning.

If someone could draw a cartoon of me reading this book, above my head would be one of those caption drawings with little "bubbles" floating up from my head an
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David
Jun 25, 2009 rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Nevermore.
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All About Books: Week 77 - Voss by Patrick White 7 36 Mar 26, 2015 08:07PM  
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Austrailian Literature 1 22 Mar 25, 2008 06:09PM  
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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
More about Patrick White...
“If truth is not acceptable, it becomes the imagination of others.” 22 likes
“To understand the stars would spoil their appearance.” 17 likes
More quotes…