Author(s): Patrick White
Elizabeth Hunter, an ex-socialite in her eighties, has a mystical experience during a summer storm in Sydney which transforms all her relationships: her existence becomes charged with a meaning which communicates itself to those around her. From this simple scenario Patrick White unfurls a monumental exploration of the tides of love and hate, comedy and tragedy, impotence and longing that fester within family relationships. In the Sydney suburb of Centennial Park, three nurses, a housekeeper and a solicitor attend to Elizabeth as her son and daughter convene at her deathbed. But, in death as in life, Elizabeth remains a destructive force on those who surround her. The Eye of the Storm is a savage exploration of family relationships - and the sharp undercurrents of love and hate, comedy and tragedy, which define them.
Patrick White was born in England in 1912. He was taken to Australia (where his father owned a sheep farm) when he was six months old, but educated in England, at Cheltenham College and King's College, Cambridge. He settled in London, where he wrote several unpublished novels, then served in the RAF during the Second World War. He returned after the war to Australia, where he became the most considerable figure in modern Australian literature before being awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. His position as a man of letters was controversial, provoked by his unpredictable public statements and his belief that it is eccentric individuals who offer the only hope of salvation. Technically brilliant, he is one modern novelist to whom the oft-abused epithet 'visionary' can safely be applied. He died in September 1990.