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the Complete Review
the complete review - fiction

The Solid Mandala

Patrick White

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To purchase The Solid Mandala

Title: The Solid Mandala
Author: Patrick White
Genre: Novel
Written: 1966
Length: 316 pages
Availability: The Solid Mandala - US
The Solid Mandala - UK
The Solid Mandala - Canada
Le Mystérieux mandala - France
  • The Solid Mandala originally won both the 1966 Britannica Award, and the Miles Franklin Prize in 1967, but White, having resolved not to accept any more prizes for his novels, withdrew his books, and the prizes were re-awarded to other authors.

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Our Assessment:

A- : a disturbing account of two brothers, very well done.

See our review for fuller assessment.

Review Summaries
Source Rating Date Reviewer
Harper's . 3/1966 Roderick Cook
New Statesman . 27/5/1966 Karl Miller
The NY Rev. of Books . 17/3/1966 Bernard Bergonzi
The NY Times Book Rev. C 13/2/1966 J.D.Scott
TLS . 9/6/1966 .

  From the Reviews:
  • "His low toned figures simply do not present themselves with sufficient distinction. (...) Altogether there is a kind of sparseness in the spiritual matter that Mr. White puts into the achievement of his ends." - J.D.Scott, The New York Times Book Review

Please note that these ratings solely represent the complete review's biased interpretation and subjective opinion of the actual reviews and do not claim to accurately reflect or represent the views of the reviewers. Similarly the illustrative quotes chosen here are merely those the complete review subjectively believes represent the tenor and judgment of the review as a whole. We acknowledge (and remind and warn you) that they may, in fact, be entirely unrepresentative of the actual reviews by any other measure.

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The complete review's Review:

       Once again, White's story is an unlikely and not immediately appealing one. The Solid Mandala is the story of twins, Waldo and Arthur Brown, living in Australia in the early part of this century. Waldo is literary, but not ambitious enough to escape beyond a library job. Arthur, who is born slow, a lumbering man dependent on his brother, is simple but good-natured. Twinned opposites, held together by circumstances, unable to escape each other, White chronicles their lives.
       Most of the events are unremarkable -- so much so that the few times there is a dramatic turn it is all the more striking. Both men have a relationship, of sorts, with a Jewish girl (and then woman), Dulcie Feinstein, who weds another. Others, especially their parents and their neighbor, Mrs. Poulter, play significant roles. Building up slowly, White pulls his reader into what on the surface seems to be a drab little tale but, in fact, resonates with great depth.
       There are passages as fine as anything he has written (and that is saying a lot), and in the pivotal sections on Waldo and Arthur White presents scenes of great strength and beauty. Tied neatly and ruthlessly together, White has again presented his readers with a magnificent and very human book. We recommend it highly.

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The Solid Mandala: Reviews: Patrick White: Other books by Patrick White under review: Other books of interest under review:

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About the Author:

       Patrick White (1912-1990), Australian author. Winner of the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. Schooled in England (at Cheltenham, and King's College, Cambridge). His first novel Happy Valley was published in 1939. Worked for R.A.F Intelligence during WWII, after which he returned to Australia.

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