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As in his other works, White's prose style is unique and stellar. This is a book of character study rather than a book of plot, and it requires close reading, but it was nevertheless difficult to put down. I couldn't resist coming in here even though I wanted to avoid spoilers.

Read The Solid Mandala in c. Impressed with your Patrick White reading - you make me want to read and re-read all of the novels. You're spot on 1. I enjoyed it very much when I read it late last year too. The brothers are a wonderful and detailed example of how White explores the complexity and opposing forces of the mind through characterisation.

The idea of two parts comprising the whole which is something I usually find trite White portrays superbly and skillfully. The bumbling Arthur undoubtedly the gregarious side of the soul holds a mirror to Waldo's constrained existence. Sometimes we dont like what we see in the mirror. But Dad probably suffered without telling, or giving expression only indirectly to his pain. There was his leg. His foot. Often strangers, and always children, were fascinated by George Brown's boot, something which members of the family hardly noticed.

It fell into the same category as inherited furniture. One evening Waldo was hanging over the gate watching their father limp down Terminus Road, after his journey back from the bank.

It was one of the steamy months of summer. How very yellow and horrid you are looking, Waldo thought. As Dad walked his thin lips were slightly parted.

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His shoulder was moving inside his coat, fighting for greater ease. When he caught sight of Waldo it was something he obviously hadn't been bargaining for. But had to speak, and at once, otherwise it would have seemed peculiar. So Dad wet his lips, and said what jumped into his head. Waldo did not know. Or rather he did. Arthur was in the kitchen with Mother, who was allowing him to knead the dough. Dad began spluttering, reaching out with his lips for something he was being denied.

Then he realized. He bent and kissed Waldo. Waldo kissed him. Or touched with his lips his father's cheek, which, in spite of the clammy summer evening, was colder than he remembered any other person's skin. It was a shock to discover, through the smell of sweat and crushed weed. While Dad and Waldo stood looking at each other.

The solid mandala by Patrick white - Ekta Singh

So, Waldo was in the position of a stranger, but one who knew too much. He wanted to make amends, however, both at the moment and afterwards. At the time, to correct himself partially, he said: 'Arthur is in the kitchen doing things for mother,' as they walked up the brick path.

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And Dad, too, perhaps wanted to soothe some possible hurt. He put his hand on Waldo's shoulder, through which the limp transferred itself. They were limping and struggling, as if in the one body, all the way to the front veranda. Presently, when Dad was sitting on the corner of that old day-bed - pausing, which is how he used to describe his flopping heavily down - Arthur came out. But Dad's need was less by then.

The Solid Mandala

It would have been different if Arthur had been hanging over the gate as he came limping down the road. And now, Waldo was watching. Mother and Dad used to watch Arthur, or at least up to a certain stage.

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At first, it seemed, they could not see far enough into him, when Waldo, who could, and who had grown used to what he found, might have told them. Mother's hair began to turn grey.

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She used to sit on the front veranda, twisting the wedding ring on her finger. It was pleasant for all of them to be together there, particularly after the southerly had come. Once when the southerly was blowing, Dad jerked his head in the direction of the wind, and said ' Just about the cheapest fulfillment of anybody's expectations. For touches like that she had Married Beneath Her. So the boys were taught to wait for the southerly, and after Dad had grown disappointed in Arthur the southerly even helped improve the situation. Mother never grew disappointed to the same extent, because, if she wanted to, she could dare the truth to be truth. For a long time after everyone realized, she persuaded herself Arthur was some kind of genius waiting to disclose himself. But Dad was not deceived, Waldo even less. Waldo didn't believe it possible to have more than one genius around. Please explain. What days?! Well maybe I got caught on the 20km walk they went on!

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Learn how your comment data is processed. In Jungian psychology a mandala is a symbol that represents the effort to reunify the self. Twins too. Share this:. Like this: Like Loading On to the wishlist it goes! Good review. This goes on my TBR pile. I'd love to know what you think, so please leave a comment below x Enter your comment here Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:. Email required Address never made public.