Picks and Pans Review: The Twyborn Affair

updated 05/05/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

originally published 05/05/1980 AT 01:00 AM EDT

by Patrick White

Novelist Patrick White, who won the Nobel Prize in 1973, continues to produce his masterful it rather old-fashioned books. This new one begins before World War I and ends with the bombings of London in World War II. White is an Australian, and his main characters again are Australians. This time, though, the setting is England, and White's colonials are nouveaux riches, crippled by feelings of social inferiority. A weekend party in the country, a favorite of English novelists, gets a most remarkable presentation in this book. The guest of honor is a chic madam who has a secret—not her profession—that she most desperately wants to conceal. The whole book is splendid, and White always saves a surprise for the end. Sometimes he drops it like a bomb; other times he lets his secret dribble out so that at first the reader thinks, "Oh, no. That can't be true! He wouldn't do that to his hero!" If White's view of mankind is sad, his books sing with truths—and he is always entertaining. (Viking, $14.95)

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