By Rama Gaind
PS News Books
The Eye of the Storm
By Patrick White (Vintage, $24.95, softcover, 608 pages)
The Eye of the Storm was published in 1973 - the year in which Patrick White finally won the Nobel Prize for Literature.
It is a substantial volume at over 600 pages and a stirring read that concentrates on the final days of an ageing, wealthy socialite. This is foremost a picture of family and of death, an unrestrained exploration of relationships complete with prickly connotations that define the love and hate along with the comedy and tragedy.
Elizabeth Hunter, an ailing Australian matriarch, is extraordinary even though she is a disparaging force on those around her.
She is at the core of this study, a surprising handiwork, put together with love and care and a liberal dose of anger. She is blemished, defective and destructive, but sees a vision of unity in the moment of lucidity – that is, the eye of the storm.
It’s a simple premise that stirs Patrick White to excel in exploring the complex relationships of her family and associates.
In a mansion near Centennial Park, Sydney, Elizabeth’s death bed is surrounded by a horde of nurses, servants and she is joined by her two children Dorothy and Basil. Both the children, with feeble and susceptible characters, have financial needs. That’s a part of the reason for their return.
Maintain your attention span, soak up the tension and even though it may be a slow read, it will be well worth the effort!
Australian director Fred Schepisi has adapted this book to film, with screenplay by Judy Morris, which stars Charlotte Rampling, Geoffrey Rush and Judy Davis.
To find out more about Rama Gaind click here.