Books: Australian with a Hoe

THE TREE OF MAN (499 pp.)—Patrick White—Viking ($4.50).

Pioneer epics dote on heroes who can tame the land but not themselves. In The Tree of Man, the primitive Australian back country tames, tempers and sorely tries a Job-like settler. Stan Parker is the kind of harassed hero O'Neill and Dreiser used to delight in—the simple, inarticulate man groping his way towards the meaning of life while fate trips him up with distressing regularity. And like O'Neill and Dreiser, Australian-born Author White (Happy Valley, The Aunt's Story) more often drags than carries the reader with...

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