> Skip to content
About the book
  • Published: 1 December 2012
  • ISBN: 9781775533535
  • Imprint: RHNZ Adult ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 190

White Shadows

Memories of Marienbad


Formats & editions


Mysterious and evocative, tantalising and erotic, this unique novel explores the qualities of love and obsession.

Mysterious and evocative, tantalising and erotic, this unique novel explores the qualities of love and obsession.

Marienbad, the central European spa resort, is immortalised in the romantic imagination for its legendary doomed love affairs - Goethe and Ulrike von Levetzow, Chopin and Marie Wodzinska, Edward VII and Mizzi Pistl, Franz Kafka and Felice Bauer.

In a Marienbad winter, within its ambience of history and allusion, theatre and illusion, a modern pair of lovers look for the cure that eluded all their famous precursors. Echoing the déjà vu of Alain Resnais' classic movie Last Year at Marienbad, they track the pristine forest snows in pursuit of answers to questions that all lovers have sought throughout history.

'White Shadows is enormously satisfying; a beautiful mood piece perfectly evoking the aimless existence of those who seek but never seem to be satisfied, in a town with ever-present reminders that death and decay lie in wait for the seekers.' - Otago Daily Times

  • Pub date: 1 December 2012
  • ISBN: 9781775533535
  • Imprint: RHNZ Adult ebooks
  • Format: EBook
  • Pages: 190

About the Author

Philip Temple

Philip Temple is an award-winning New Zealand author and photographer with more than 30 non-fiction books, novels, guides and children’s books to his credit.He is also a leading television documentary writer and editor, and was formerly features editor of The New Zealand Listener and associate editor of Landfall, and has worked as an outdoor educator. In his youth he was a prominent mountaineer, climbing in the Southern Alps, and making original explorations and first ascents in New Guinea and the sub-Antarctic. During the course of these he travelled with such legendary mountain explorers as Heinrich Harrer and H.W. ‘Bill’ Tilman. He has a strong interest in ecology and was a vigorous campaigner for the MMP electoral system. Born in Yorkshire and educated in London, he emigrated to New Zealand aged 18, and now lives in Dunedin with his wife, poet and novelist Diane Brown. See more at www.philiptemple.com.

His first books recounted his own and other mountaineers’ exploits at home and abroad, including The World at Their Feet (winner of a Wattie Award in 1970). His later works include the bestselling Beak of the Moon and its sequel, Dark of the Moon, novels told through the eye of a kea; the European novels To Each His Own, White Shadows and I am Always with You; children’s books such as The Story of the Kakapo; numerous books about New Zealand, such as The Milford Superguide and Presenting New Zealand; and the multi-award-winning biography of the Wakefield family and early British settlement in New Zealand A Sort of Conscience. His autobiographical works include The Last True Explorer and Chance is a Fine Thing.

Philip has been the Katherine Mansfield Memorial Fellow (1979), the Robert Burns Fellow (1980), the 1996 NZ National Library Fellow, and has been awarded a Berliner Künstlerprogramm stipendium in 1987 and the 2003 Creative New Zealand Berlin Writers Residency. In 2005, he was invested as an Officer of the New Zealand Order of Merit (ONZM) for Services to Literature and was given a Prime Minister’s Award for Literary Achievement. Upon examination of his work in 2007, the University of Otago granted the Philip the higher degree of Doctor of Literature (LittD) in recognition of his work.

The Nelson Mail said of Temple’s account of his expedition to West Papua’s central highlands with Austrian mountaineer Heinrich Harrer, The Last True Explorer, ‘absorbing, dramatic, funny and poignant, it is a good read and a great adventure story’. The Dominion Post concluded: ‘Impressive as the climbing tales are, it’s the cultural and personal stories … that really make it memorable and moving … The result is a wonderful book.’

The Otago Daily Times described the novel White Shadows: Memories of Marienbad as ‘enormously satisfying; a beautiful mood piece’. The Herald on Sunday called it ‘a joy’ which ‘reminds one of the serious, thought-provoking work of German author Herman Hesse’. Incorporating history, memoir and photography with fiction, the Waikato Times found that these elements contribute ‘interestingly to the slightly mysterious, slightly worn ambience of the setting’.

Denis Welch, in The New Zealand Listener, described Temple’s memoir Chance is a Fine Thing as ‘vigorous’ and ‘page-turning’ and tackled with ‘finesse and a certain fearlessness’, and the Dunedin Star as ‘insightful and a delight to read’. The Wanganui Chronicle wrote: ‘This memoir skips across so many facets of his versatility, and is probably a microcosm of some of his earlier work.’

Also by Philip Temple

See all

Praise for White Shadows

“White Shadows is enormously satisfying; a beautiful mood piece perfectly evoking the aimless existence of those who seek but never seem to be satisfied, in a town with ever-present reminders that death and decay lie in wait for the seekers.”

Otago Daily Times

“White Shadows reminds me of the serious, thought-provoking work of German author Herman Hesse. The one note of caution offered is not critical. Don’t expect light and romantic - but as something that requires deliberation, White Shadows is a joy.”

Herald on Sunday

“How this Liebeskrise is thrashed out and in what manner of telling: how history and place--the imagination of place and the place of the imagination--; and time as memory, where memoir is stepping back to meet up with oneself stepping toward; and how when psyche is wounded and adrift the world inner and outer becomes a relationship where the eros of body and sexual impulse become the principal agonists--and all subject to the erotic imaginal: ... are some of the fictional signs that make White Shadows such an eminently readable, and provocatively engaging novel.”

Michael Harlow, Landfall


Related titles