Voss - discussion
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There are a lot of good people in this novel. It is curious that a writer could find so many in his imagination to contribute to the strength of his work.
I think that this is the only novel that I will read for this challenge. I am, however, waiting to see what others have to say about it.
Why do you say that Laura is "deluded"?
P.S. Congrats on completing the challenge!!!
"Few people of attainments take easily to a plan of self-improvement. Some discover very early their perfection cannot endure the insult. Others find their intellectual pleasure lies in the theory, not the practice. Only a few stubborn ones will blunder on, painfully, out of the luxuriant world of their pretensions into the desert of mortification and reward."
A bit moralizing, but very insightful, I thought.
Patrick White’s 'Voss' is quite a deceptive novel. A German migrant to Australia, the novels ‘hero’ Johann Ulrich Voss plans to cross Australia. During the preparations for the trip, Voss meets Laura Trevelyan, the niece of one of the sponsors for his expedition. What makes this novel so extraordinary is how the writer convinces you of the power of an almost non-existent relationship. After 2 or 3 glancing meetings, and one exchange of letters, Voss and Laura separately convince themselves of a passion that drives both of them to extremis. This passion is both sustaining and destructive, and you are as consumed by it as they become. There is little that is not predictable in the story itself, but this high-wire act of emotional drive, and the colour of other friendships between the men who accompany Voss is what keep you turning the pages. ( ****1/2)
Laura appears to me to be Voss' pivot. The point where PW suggests the mad explorer is in balance, regardless of their few meetings. Laura believes in Voss therefore Voss believes back creating a thread of survival in the mad, bleak and unforgiving landscape of Voss' mind and follies (?). I'm sure there's a greater metaphysical (and better) explanation... definitely a re-read!!!
On a related note however, I attended the recent event at the Wheeler Centre in Melbourne where Peter Craven was giving a talk on Voss (hosted by Ramona Koval), unfortunately it wasn't particularly insightful and Ramona suggested Voss could be filmed in 3D... dont get me started on that little quip! His writing deserves more than that pithy treatment. The Wheeler Centre usually records these events so it may be available some time soon (not available yet, refer to http://wheelercentre.com/videos).
Robert - Please dont give up on White after Voss either!...