Patrick White – Voss – Read Along March 2017


My recent reading and blog post of Randolph Stow’s “To The Islands” created a little conversation over on Twitter (I’m @Messy_tony if you want to follow me there), and more specifically the Miles Franklin Award. As I mentioned in that post the Trustees of the Award tell us;

“The Miles Franklin Literary Award is Australia’s most prestigious literature prize. Established through the will of My Brilliant Career author, Miles Franklin, the prize is awarded each year to a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases.”

First presented in 1957, to Patrick White, Australia’s only Nobel Laureate in Literature, for Voss  “the Award helps to support authors and to foster uniquely Australian literature. Miles Franklin believed that “Without an indigenous literature, people can remain alien in their own soil.”  She also had first-hand experience of struggling to make a living as a writer and was the beneficiary of two literary prizes herself.”

The subsequent discussion centred around Patrick White and his novel “Voss”, the inaugural winner of the award in 1957. A number of well-known bloggers, Stu at Winston’s Dad , Kim at Reading Matters and Grant at 1st Reading  were keen for a read along of White’s book and so an event was born. I’m hoping the three bloggers are still keen to read White’s book as I’ve now named them publicly!!!

From 1 March 2017 the four of us will read Patrick White’s novel “Voss” and we invite you to join in, I’m more than happy to open my blog to guest posts, and would love to have as many people as possible join in for this one off event.

The novel is quite lengthy, my edition runs to 454 pages, so at 15 pages per day it should be covered in a month, but there is no pressure to read it all within that time if you feel that is too cumbersome. Posting questions at our blogs, or via twitter (@messy_tony, @stujallen @kimbofo and @GrantRintoul our handles) is another way you can join in.

With Patrick White being Australia’s only Nobel Laureate in Literature, this is a great way to become involved in his writing, throwing up differing opinions, questions, likes, dislikes, an open slather looking at a renowned writer and the first winner of the most prestigious writing award in Australia.

Here’s a little about “Voss” from the Penguin webpage:

The novel that put Australian literature on the map is now in a Vintage Classic edition

Set in nineteenth-century Australia, Voss is the story of the secret passion between an explorer and a naïve young woman. Although they have met only a few times, Voss and Laura are joined by overwhelming, obsessive feelings for each other. Voss sets out to cross the continent. As hardships, mutiny and betrayal whittle away his power to endure and to lead, his attachment to Laura gradually increases. Laura, waiting in Sydney, moves through the months of separation as if they were a dream and Voss the only reality.

From the careful delineation of Victorian society to the sensitive rendering of hidden love to the stark narrative of adventure in the Australian desert, Patrick White’s novel is a work of extraordinary power and virtuosity.

Join in by adding a comment here, buying the book or borrowing from your local library, and keeping an eye on our blogs leading up to March 2017. We would love to have you along for the ride.

12 thoughts on “Patrick White – Voss – Read Along March 2017

  1. I am hopeless at committed reading projects these days and I do have a major critical review due mid-March (the new Can Xue) but I have also had a sharp looking hardcover copy of Voss on a shelf somewhere here so I will consider joining. But no commitment yet. Something about that Groucho Marx line about not wanting to join any group that would have me as a member keeps playing in the back of my mind…

    Liked by 1 person

    • Great news that you are joining us. With, what appears to be, different approaches to the male journey vs the female journey (physical and mental) it is great to have equal male/female representation in the read along membership. Hopefully it will give us a nicely balanced view.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I have read White previously and have to admit that I do find him hard work. However I do enjoy reading along with others and it does give one a greater understanding and appreciation of difficult novels. So I am keen to join and have just ordered the nice hardback of the edition you feature here.

    Liked by 1 person

    • It is great you are joining us. The group discussion may assist with the difficult sections, let’s hope it is an enjoyable journey for all of us, seven committed already and I’m sure we will have 10+ come March.


  3. Pingback: Looking forward 2017 Arab and Quebec book and a White read along | Winstonsdad's Blog

  4. Pingback: Introducing the Patrick White ‘Voss’ Read Along | Reading Matters

  5. I’d love to join in but I’m not sure whether even 15 pages a day is doable given my load at present, but I’ll see … I read this in high school for Year 12 and absolutely loved it. It resulted in my going on to immediately read his short stories The burnt ones. Since then though I haven’t read enough of his, though I’ve read a few including The solid mandala twice.


  6. Well, I’ve made a start. Not quite sure what to make of it yet – White seems insistent there’s a lot going on below the surface.
    My main aim, however, is to finish before the 15th!

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is the second attempt to read it and again I’m getting bogged down in Chapter 10, with the feeling that I’ve missed some important developments which will explain what’s going on, beyond rain and caves. Any clues?


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