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The Tree Of Man

3.95  ·  Rating details ·  1,542 ratings  ·  121 reviews
Stan Parker, with only a horse and a dog for company journeys to a remote patch of land he has inherited in the Australian hills. Once the land is cleared and a rudimentary house built, he brings his wife Amy to the wilderness. Together they face lives of joy and sorrow as they struggle against the environment.
Paperback, 480 pages
Published October 27th 1994 by Vintage (first published 1955)
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Lyndall So that, in the end, there was no end.

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Average rating 3.95  · 
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 ·  1,542 ratings  ·  121 reviews

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Sep 30, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Those who see life through poetry
Recommended to Dolors by: Familiar voices
Shelves: read-in-2017
Patrick White’s style is a unique blend of roughness and literacy that can become quite absorbing, mesmerizing even, for its timelessness. The minor details of ordinary lives fuse with poetic vision and transform the common experience of man into the absolute essence that holds the power to make tangible the sheer mystery of existence.

The desolation of the Australian bush, with all its mythology and folklore, acquires an abstract dimension seen through the eyes of the Parkers.
Stan and Amy
Vit Babenco
Aug 12, 2018 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
“Again, if two lie together, then they have heat: but how can one be warm alone?
And if one prevail against him, two shall withstand him; and a threefold cord is not quickly broken.” Ecclesiastes 4:11-12
This is the law humans abide by since the ancient time…
The Tree of Man is a life story of unrefined, down-to-earth people, a profound tale about the salt of the earth.
The clearing was wide open. The two people and their important activities could not have been more exposed. About that importance
Lynne King
Apr 20, 2013 rated it really liked it
One cannot fault this skillfully executed book. It has all the right ingredients: an excellent writing style that a friend stated “I feel I would only scratch the surface with Patrick White” and I certainly go along with that. He also said, “He sometimes reminds me of Virginia Woolf, when he veers off into a stream of consciousness.” Hundred per cent correct. I cannot disagree with that either.

Initially, this work would appear to be the “simple” story of a man called Stan Parker who receives an
Feb 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
The best thing about this book is the amazing way the author can conjure up the feel of the Australian outback in words. Not only that but he takes the reader back in time to when settlers were opening up new areas of the countryside and starting to develop the towns we know today. I enjoyed the way the story progressed slowly and steadily with just the small excitements of a quite normal life. Occasionally I found Amy a little annoying and I was irritated by the authors use of 'the man' and ...more
Aug 27, 2013 rated it it was amazing
After many years of good intentions I have finally read a novel by that renowned Australian literary curmudgeon, Patrick White. My 1973 edition of The Tree of Man was given to me by a good friend, who once read out a paragraph to me during a visit on a searing hot summers day. I was captivated by White’s lyrical phrasing and his portrayal of the Australian experience, all from one paragraph. Patrick White is considered to be one of Australia’s great writers and one of the significant writers of ...more
Oct 31, 2013 rated it it was amazing
So. Here's the thing; how do you review the book that you consider may be *the* book? You know, the one that encapsulates your whole philosophical, spiritual, intellectual outlook on life? Whatever you end up saying about it will ruin the experience for anyone else. If you build high expectations then, of course, other people won't share those with you, or you will be overplaying it, or they will have a different outlook on life and all things 'spiritual' and therefore hate everything about it. ...more

Patrick White was an Australian novelist who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. My friend and I of the newly formed Literary Snobs reading group picked this book for our first meeting. Not many people write like this anymore. His prose is highly literary, filled with poetical passages and lyrical descriptions of place, weather, and characters.

The Tree of Man follows the life of one man in almost completely chronological order from childhood to death. All along the way, the author
Oct 22, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
I read this book very slowly. I wanted to take in its environment and atmosphere. I loved Riders in the Chariot and now my Aussie roots have deepened into the soil of 'The Tree of Man'. I will miss my mornings with the Parkers.
Jul 12, 2011 rated it it was amazing
My favourite book. I used to read it maybe once a year, to experience the sense of Australian that the reading invokes. It's real linguistic magic, that Patrick White does - he can completely re-create a world, you can see it, smell it, feel it, hear it!, just using his selection and arrangement of words on the page.
Oct 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Contains truth, beauty and genius. Off-the-charts great writing lifts unprepossessing subject matter into the realm of pure art. Explores how each of us remains essentially alone, but indelibly connected. Will invigorate the reader and inspire the writer.
Aug 21, 2010 rated it it was amazing
A poetic tribute to man and nature. The Tree of Man succeeds in capturing the opening of the frontier in Australia. It is reminiscent of O. E. Rolvaag or Conrad Richter who did the same for the American frontier. The story is a universal one, even so White succeeds in creating individual characters, particularly Stan Parker, for whom you develop feeling. He succeeds in demonstrating basic human values and the inherent drama of life in the raw. That combined with the poetic descriptions of nature ...more
May 18, 2009 rated it it was amazing
just wrapped up a long haul with this thing. whoah. felt like we went to war together. this was my first patrick white novel (know a few of his plays) and im afraid im going to have to rip in to the rest of the CATALOGUE now. probably VOSS next as thats his most renowned bind. this book is pretty simple in premise. a couple meet, get married and head out to the country to build a life. they make a home, struggle for a couple of kids, and do their best to provide and nourish inside and outside ...more
Sasha Holden
Jun 05, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Its difficult to write about the simple things in life. That is if you are not Patrick White. White in "The Tree Of Man" leads you on a journey of events that are somewhat ordinary from the outside. Meeting your future wife, taking her home in the bush to commence a new life together, all the time surrounded by a slowly developing community. Surrounded by change.
Yet as is often the case in White's novels it is the change from within that renders his stories outstanding. Stan Parker, an ordinary
Julie Gittus
I first read this book when I was eighteen and remember being astonished at the final page by the power of fiction. And then a few months ago I found a beautiful first edition in an Op Shop - a bit tatty but gorgeous fifties cover - and dared myself to read it all these years later. This isn't a book you can tear through. It's a bit like eating the very rich fruit cake. It took me three weeks to read - sometimes I made myself put the book down so I could digest the profound and beautiful ...more
Jul 31, 2011 rated it liked it
Recommends it for: Sue, possibly Asmah
Recommended to Judy by: Anne
The Tree Of Man is the life story of Stan Parker and his wife, Amy, from their isolated beginnings and through fires, storms and floods in their personal lives and the weather.

Patrick White writes beautifully which is why even though this story is slow-paced,long, and without a strong plot, it is worth the read.
Unforgettable in its compassionate portrayal of a good man brought to his knees by marriage and fatherhood. Superb writing in a class of its own. why is Patrick White so out of fashion?
Vipin Goyal
Jun 04, 2016 rated it it was amazing
The simplicity of true grandeur found in tree transcends in the human being who live their life in the proximity of nature. The act of adultery by Amy, not only once by twice reflects that it is not impulsive but a deliberate act to overcome the boredom or an act of rebellion against a husband who had become unromantic. Their marriage was not a consequence of a decision, but an outcome of a certainty. They had a highly romantic honeymoon.
The writer says “the whole night had become a poem of
Mar 10, 2015 rated it liked it
This is literally the most perfectly written book I have ever read. The prose is entirely flawless and the imagery is so evocative it's sharp. you could cut yourself on one of Stan's countless axe swings. But when I put it down I felt...very little. The plodding, journeying pace of the prose is intentional, a metaphor for life in australia in the early 20th century, but intentional or not, and no matter how well written a book is (and again I must reiterate, this is perfect) storytelling is not ...more
Feb 13, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This is the story of Stan and Amy Parker who built the universe starting with Stan clearing some trees in the Australian bush. This is the best book I've read. The prose is stunning and intelligent. The characters are so real, complex, and alive that I feel like they are people I know. The story of their marriage, their children, life in what started as sparsely populated bush and grew to be the outskirts of a suburb, their neighbors and friends, the hardship and hearrtbreaks they endure is ...more
Sep 10, 2014 rated it it was ok
Although I cannot fault this book I just didn't like it! I mean his writing technique is simple yet elegant I just couldn't find myself getting into the book. I am doing this book as part of an English unit in college and although I can see why it was included I personally didn't like it! This is only purely on the fact that I read books as a form of escapism and I like to be engrossed in a novel and forget about my mundane life! In this book you can't because at the end of the day it is a book ...more
Lily Patchett
Jan 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
i don't know how patrick white knows all the things he knows, but i keep finding myself looking at things in the world and thinking i do not know but someone does, and it is white. even if it's just the names of the trees and the birds. although there is definitely more. the inner-life of human beings, for instance, and the way music works inside of some of them - how does he guess at all that? or am i confusing the beauty of his sentences - the secrets of which i spent the whole time reading ...more
Ralph Hampson
Sep 05, 2011 rated it it was amazing
This was on my reading list for Year 12 and it provided that ahha moment in the line he found god in a gobble of spit - with that line I suddenly saw how writing can take you to places, ideas and thoughts that I never thought possible ...
Jun 17, 2008 rated it did not like it
Recommends it for: fans of realism/naturalism
Recommended to Vanita by: university professor
Shelves: uni
This is a book that some may consider great art, but I'll just go with: 480 pages and no plot.
Stan Parker lives, marries, has a boy and a girl, doesn't really get to know anyone, and dies. I was relieved when he did the latter.
Definitely not recommendable.
Geoff Wooldridge
Sep 26, 2014 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The Tree of Man, first published in 1956, is the story of Stan Parker and his wife Amy, who married and settled on a rural property in New South Wales in the early part of the 20th century.

Stan Parker is a dour, practical man, whose verbal communications are limited, but who is steadfast and dependable.

Amy, his wife, adapts to a life of relative isolation and loneliness on the land, and does her best to provide useful support for her husband in tasks on the farm, as well as undertaking all of
Jun 13, 2009 rated it liked it
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Justin Evans
Jul 19, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fiction
Fairly straightforward for a White novel, this one felt more like a combination of Lawrence with Richardson's "Mahoney" than a combination of Lawrence with actual modernism (gratuitous drive-by on Lawrence there, sorry). As with "Mahoney," there's a lot of grand-national-epic feel, at least to begin with, as well as the conflicts between one's origins and the way we develop into different people, though here the class aspects are spread across generations (Richardson focuses on the title ...more
Jan 21, 2011 rated it really liked it
Wow! Hard to know what to say about ths one! It took me a while to read because it is SO intense. The writing is beautiful and so full of meaning that sometimes it is hard to just read it. Sometimes, something you read is so meaningful yet simple that it packs a punch and yet if you read it over, you can't think why you thought that! It is a story of life, it could be everyman's life; in parts it seems quite uplifting and yet there is always a sense of doom overhanging. The characters are well ...more
Jan 04, 2015 rated it it was ok
I am amazed at some of the glowing reviews. I can see all the merit in this book, and I agree with the pull of its psychological description of a man facing off against his environment. It is, truthfully, beautifully written. But....Amy? Good grief, how much more objectified and static could a character get?
One reviewer wrote in praise of the book, but admitted she couldn't understand why Amy went into such a life--Precisely!? We cannot understand it because White does not explain it. Amy is
Aug 10, 2011 is currently reading it
This book is not easy to read. It is, however, novel. It describes the life of Stan Parker and his wife, Amy Fibbens. The inner texture of the married couple's relationship forms the backbone of the narrative (at least in the first ten chapters). Stan and Amy live in New South Wales in presumably the early 20th century. Stan is a competent farmer.

According to David Marr's biography of Patrick White, White was drunk and furious and frustrated throughout the writing of this novel, and routinely
Apr 30, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
A wonderful read by Patrick White. He certainly took me on a journey of life in early Australia and made me oh so happy to be alive now. It was a totally depressing reality check of life in the bush for both women and men. The isolation was just heart rending even for the two people who were living in the same house who, because of their upbringing, did not know how to reach out to each other. So many people survived and withered up, not from the harsh Australian climate but just from the lack ...more
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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 also 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
“Because he had nothing to hide, he did perhaps appear to have forfeited a little of his strength. But that is the irony of honesty.” 17 likes
“She had begun to read in the beginning as a protection from the frightening and unpleasant things. She continued because, apart from the story, literature brought with it a kind of gentility for which she craved.” 10 likes
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