Fiction THE HANGING GARDEN PATRICK WHITE, KNOPF, $29.95
David Marr blames Adelaide for the fact that this novel, started to block White’s anxiety over his publisher’s verdict on the autobiographical Flaws in the Glass, was never finished. Only the first part of a planned triptych was penned and largely corrected in 1981 when Jim Sharman asked his friend White for a play to open the Adelaide Festival. For a time White worked on the two projects together, but he was old and ailing: the play, Signal Driver, was the easier and more immediate option and the novel went into the bottom drawer.
Which is a shame, not only because novels are far more accessible to the general reader than plays, but because it is a lovely piece, complete as far as it goes, which is to the end of the war in Europe, but tantalisingly incomplete in that there is no indication of where White would have taken it next.
As well as celebrating the childlike – the holy fools who have the ascendancy in much of his work – White was also interested in the way children see