Sunday, June 14, 2009

The Tree of Man, 47/81, 2nd Round.

The Tree of Man by Patrick White, global reading category

Wow, what a chunk of a book! 499 pages. And I don't know why that feels so big, as I have read some for the challenge that were even bigger, but it just felt like a really big book.

The book is all about an Australian couple, Stan and Amy Parker. It is sort of an epic, a great Australian novel, as it were. They build a home, work on their farm, raise cows, have a couple of kids, survive a flood and a fire, meet the neighbors. Stan goes off to war. Their son turns out to be a weak criminal type; their daughter a social climber. They both get old. Stan dies.

And believe it or not, that is really the whole book. Why did it take 499 pages? I'm not entirely sure. It's certainly not because of the dialogue. Both Stan and Amy are taciturn by nature.

Perhaps this is White's way of portraying the basic honest type of person who is always at the heart of a thriving nation. The Parkers are not every anyone special. But their lives are still important.

I didn't really love this book, but I did enjoy the style. I'm not sure if it's the writer or because he was Australian, but there are just small differences in the way the story is told. I had to read it a little more carefully, because he says so much without saying it straight out. So much of the story is implied in just a few words, which means the reader has to extrapolate and decipher the littlest clue.

I don't know if I will read more by this author or not, but this was certainly a change from what I normally read.

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