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A Fringe of Leaves Unknown Binding

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Product Details

  • Unknown Binding
  • Publisher: Viking Press; 1St Edition edition
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B0069AXSDQ
  • Product Dimensions: 8.1 x 6 x 1.2 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (9 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #12,086,311 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on April 24, 2003
Format: Paperback
Read any review of Patrick White�s A Fringe of Leaves and you will expect it to be an exciting tale. One that includes adventures on the sea, a frightening shipwreck, and deaths of important characters; a tale of enslavement by the wild and savage Australian aborigines, sex, and cannibalism; a tale of the heroic rescue of a damsel in distress by an escaped convict. But if you are expecting this adventurous and daring plot, you may turn away disappointed. You may read halfway through the book and not encounter more than one or two of the events mentioned in the reviews.
What is it, then, that makes A Fringe a five-star read? Why do many readers across the globe claim it to be one of Patrick White�s most brilliant works?
This is not, in fact, merely a story of adventure and excitement. It�s a mission of humanity. Ellen Roxburgh is the image of any individual with conflicting views of life within herself. This is not a story of rescue, but one of survival. It reminds us all of our own personal inner struggles and how much we have been able to overcome. It is a reminder that the loss of innocence in every child is the first step in that child�s becoming an adult.
A Fringe is also an anthem of cross-culturalism that sings true today in America, though it was set in 19th century Australia. Living here, we have all acquired or developed a certain social standard unfamiliar to our infant natures. From living among many legions of immigrants, or even from traveling abroad, we know what it is to subscribe to other social standards. A Fringe explores the effects of such an initiation in Ellen Roxburgh�s character. This initiation is exhibited as the cause of her internal conflict of social behaviors.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Doug Anderson VINE VOICE on September 18, 2001
Format: Paperback
Patrick White writes like a castaway from the Victorian era. His novels are long and full of real characters and the society and civilization of which they are a part and from which they come is equally real. Each character possesses a fully developed history, and the story as a whole progress from one point to another. And in the process people are changed by the experience. If that sounds old fashioned to you, well, it is old fashioned but those are values that some readers miss and for those readers these novels. I don't want to make White sound too antiquated though for his themes are very contemporary ,or timeless, as his themes are those that don't go out of style. This is my favorite of his novels. In A Fringe of Leaves(c.1973) White tells a shipwreck story upon the shores of an as yet uncolonised Australia. The characters who survive the shipwreck are then captured by Aborigines and must adapt to a lifestyle quite unlike the one left behind in fair old England. White uses this tale to examine civilization first by showing his characters in it and then by showing his characters as they appear stripped of only a fringe of leaves. The examination is quite a thorough and engaging one. The novel feels Victorian partly because it is set in that time (or before) but it only retains the best of that periods use of the form. White himself is Australian(and one who has won many awards, Nobel included, and to many he is the best they have so far produced) and so his study of England is tinged with an insight reserved for the ousider or in his case the postcolonial. The shipwreck portion of the book is only about 150 pages or so near the end of a 500 page plus novel.Read more ›
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Gio on September 30, 2009
Format: Paperback
What riper themes for a 'historical' novel? Patrick White's "A Fringe of Leaves" is exactly that, a historical romance set in Australia in the 1830s, when much of the country was as yet unconquered by its English and Irish settlers, a good number of whom were convicts. Fringe was first published in 1976, but in many ways it reads as a late-Victorian novel. There's a tremendous amount of Thomas Hardy about it, in subject matter, in narrative structure, and in its bitter-to-bittersweet outlook on humankind. The central tale of romance, between a strong-bodied young woman and a bookish older man, has echoes of George Eliot's Middlemarch -- intentional, I think -- and the survival tale that emerges as the second half of the novel, after a shipwreck, reminds me inexorably of Joseph Conrad. Then, when the heroine is 'adopted' unwillingly into non-European culture, I can't help thinking of E. M. Forster's "Passage to India". Forster's and White's uneasy attitudes toward erotic encounters are of a kind.

But Patrick White was his own man as a writer, and had his own very recognizable narrative voice. He mixed crisply evocative scenic descriptions with almost parenthetical wit and irony. His persistent tone of surly superciliousness toward his own characters,his creatures of imagination, may require a breaking-in period for many readers. I was strongly 'put off' by it when I read "Voss", my first encounter with White. However, in "Fringe of Leaves" the author created a compelling female character, Ellen Roxburgh, of more persuasive reality than almost any other heroine in fiction portrayed by authors of any gender persuasion. Mrs.
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