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The Living and the Dead (Twentieth-Century Classics) Paperback – March 2, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: Twentieth-Century Classics
  • Paperback: 368 pages
  • Publisher: Penguin Classics (March 2, 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0140185267
  • ISBN-13: 978-0140185263
  • Product Dimensions: 7.7 x 5 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.5 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 3.5 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,403,187 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Customer Reviews

3.5 out of 5 stars
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Harry on April 13, 2011
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Fascinating. Extraordinary. Patrick White exploring with style, early in his illustrious career. Delves deep into the darkest, saddest and most forlorn corners of the characters. A grim, grim book - reflective of the dangerous times in which it was written (1941 London). Be sure and re-read chapter one on completion of the book, for some sense of hope or redemption. Not suitable for the eternal optimists or those looking for an easy read.
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By An admirer of Saul on August 4, 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Elyot Standish is completely alone once his sister departs for Spain. Looking back at the life of his family, from when Willy Standish marries Kitty Goose, their estrangement, his recollection of a row, his stubborn minded sister, Eden, and all the unrequited love and misplaced relationships and his own aversion to feelings....Death visits many times, but Elyot has been dead for some time; emotionally incapable of living...
A complex and dark story that is everything-ideas themes and style-that Patrick White developed through his novels. The intricate detail of events and emotions that ingrain themselves so strongly that when a moment is recalled-vaguely almost-some hundred pages later, the image is there in your mind. The way events and social pressures to conform inhibit our desires , our natural self.
I have to confess I am a 'White Addict'. I know his themes and I love his writing style and I found 'The Living and the Dead'-for all its bleakness-yet another superlative White masterpiece. Maybe this isn't the ideal first Patrick White novel to read (judging by some other reviews !) and even though it is the second book he wrote, I would say you would appreciate the full power of this book having read "Voss" "The Tree of Man" or "Riders in the Chariot" before "The Living and the Dead"
Probably the bleakest novel since "Jude the Obscure" but none the less a great. Dazzling
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Set in London in the 1930s, The Living and the Dead is the story of Catherine Standish and her two adult children, Elyot and Eden. They are three individuals living behind emotional barriers, seldom able to empathize or give themselves fully to love. There are also class barriers involved, as each increasingly finds her or his upper class status more of a burden than a privilege. Each eventually comes to question the purpose of life, seeking answers--or escape--in different directions.

The novel focuses not on events, but on feelings. White writes from deep inside the psyche of each of his characters in insightful, analytic prose. This is a thoughtful, but slow-paced novel, and the author's turgid style does not make it easy to read. The absence of quotation marks is only occasionally confusing, but White's frequent use of second person (suddenly it is "You took the train..." instead of Elyot or Eden) just calls attention to how the author is writing, not what he is saying. The characters are well-crafted, and there are beautifully-written passages throughout the book, but I found this bleak, uneventful and difficult novel on the whole unrewarding.
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7 of 36 people found the following review helpful By jclifft@ix.netcom.com on December 23, 1998
Format: Paperback
Quite possibly the worst book I have ever read. The characters are annoying and bland and the writing itself is superfluous and confusing. I felt that I had to force myself to finish it and then was angry that I didnt put it down halfway through. This book has nothing to say and is annoyingly terrible.
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