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Riders in the Chariot (New York Review Books Classics) Paperback – April 30, 2002
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— Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Riders in the Chariot is the most compassionate and the most beautiful of all Patrick White’s works; colours fly everywhere; his words, comic, ecstatic, are like the brushstrokes on a canvas by Nolan or Blake.
— Carmen Callil and Colm Tóibín, The Modern Library: The 200 Best Novels in English Since 1950
Patrick White is an outsider, and his characters are outsiders, outlaws, afflicted, and linked by their affliction. The visionary element in his novels is inseparable from a tough irony and a microscopically close, sometimes savage attention to physical minutiae. The coarser the texture of the physical—of bodies especially—the more likely to be illuminated by flashes of meaning and power.
— Rosemary Dinnage
About the Author
David Malouf is a novelist and poet. His novel The Great Worldwas awarded the Commonwealth Prize and Remembering Babylon was short-listed for the Booker Prize. He has received the IMPAC Dublin Literary Award and the Los Angeles TimesBook Award. He lives in Sydney, Australia.
Top Customer Reviews
In succeeding sections, in which these characters overlap, their intricate interior lives are developed in colorful, memorable detail, and the reader quickly sees that each is a lonely survivor of some traumatic experience which has made him/her question the nature of good and evil. Each hopes to unravel some of the mysteries at the center of the universe. Remarkably, all of them have experienced the same apocalyptic vision of a chariot being drawn by four horses galloping into a shimmering future.
In the hands of a lesser writer, the characters, their daily lives, and their vision of the chariot might have been presented in a sentimental or romantic way, or even been used to illustrate the author's religious views. But White's view of the chariot and its importance is far subtler--and more enigmatic--than that, and its role in the lives of these characters is both unsentimental and haunting. Tantalizing parallels between the vision of the chariot and the mysteries of Revelations, the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, and the Seven Seals, along with Biblical warnings about blood, fire, and destruction will keep a symbol-hunter totally engaged.Read more ›
Other people in the book are given to insubstantial matters, cruelty, and obliviousness, frequently rendered comically by White:
The other ladies glanced at her skin, which was white and almost unprotected, whereas they themselves had shaded their faces, with orange, with mauve, even with green, not so much to impress one another, as to give them the courage to confront themselves (p.323)
All very well. But it is this Manichean dualism between the saintly four characters and, well, everybody else which leads me to refrain from giving it five stars. Anyone who has encountered the world in its chaos of identities, acts of kindness, visionary aspects, thuggish and sadistic aspects knows that we all carry in us both the visionary, sensitive private individualism of the main characters, on the one hand, and the thuggish herd instinct of----everyone else in this book.
Still, it's well worth the read.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
I stopped reading this book 90 pages from the end. I slogged through to that point. The writing style and syntax seemed from another century. Read morePublished 15 months ago by M. McConnell
I think this may be my favorite book of all time. It is so beautifully written, so haunting, so expertly crafted, it's no wonder Patrick White won the Nobel Prize for Literature. Read morePublished 20 months ago by Tallulah
I gave this book 3 stars because of its attempt at originality. The writing style could be good but often was not. When it was good, it was brilliant. Read morePublished on December 25, 2013 by Aussie Booklover
One of the very best books I've read. There are angels amongst us. And irony and the unexpected, unanticipated, most surprising is what usually occurs. Read morePublished on June 17, 2013 by Arthur Gutierrez-Hartmann
RIDERS IN THE CHARIOT, Patrick White's sixth novel, is a humbling read. I'm struck by how often reputation and a sententious award (in this case, the Nobel Prize for Literature)... Read morePublished on April 3, 2013 by C. Skala
Illumination is synonymous with blinding. The world depends on the eye of the beholder.
Some writers captivate me sentence by sentence. White is one of them. Read more
Being a Miles Franklin award winner, I thought this book would be interesting. How wrong I was! Religious mumbo-jumbo with a bit of homosexuality thrown in for good measure. Read morePublished on September 9, 2012 by riched