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One of Patrick White’s most loved novels in which he creates a memorable portrait of human resilience

One of Patrick White’s most loved novels in which he creates a memorable portrait of human resilience

Stan Parker, with only a horse and a dog for companions, journeys to a remote scrubby patch of land that he has inherited in the Australian hills. When the land is cleared enough for a rudimentary house to be built, Stan brings his new wife, Amy, to the wilderness. Together they struggle to establish a home for themselves and their growing family.

And together, but essentially apart, they face everything from the domestic upheavals of birth and death to natural disasters. In this chronicle of simple lives in joy and sorrow, Patrick White creates an evocative monument to human endurance.


It was the exaltation of the "average" that made me panic most, and in this frame of mind, in spite of myself, I began to conceive another novel. Because the void I had to fill was so immense, I wanted to try to suggest in this book every possible aspect of life, through the lives of an ordinary man and woman. But at the same time I wanted to discover the extraordinary behind the ordinary, the mystery and the poetry, which alone could make bearable the lives of such people, and incidentally, my own life since my return. So I began to write The Tree of Man.

Patrick White

White's corpus deals, in every style from farce to tragedy, with a small number of themes but a vast number of characters. He has constructed a continuous literary protest against materialism and the dullness of realism

Ken Goodwin, A History of Australian Literature

It continues to scandalize me that cultivated English-language readers exist, in Britain and America, who have never read White and who don't realize that those who have taken the trouble to do so are inclined to rank him with Nabokov or Beckett -- or indeed Faulkner.

Peter Craven, Times Literary Supplement

A timeless work of art from which no essential element of life has been omitted.

New York Times Book Review

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback


    August 3, 2009

    Vintage Australia

    480 pages

    RRP $19.99

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    Find your local bookstore at booksellers.org.au

  • EBook


    February 1, 2011

    Random House Australia

    480 pages

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