Books: Voices of Silence

THE BURNT ONES by Patrick White. 308 pages. Viking. $4.95.

Patrick White has offered his native Australia an embarrassment of literary riches. As to the riches, there is no doubt. White's six novels, from Happy Valley (1939) to Riders in the Chariot (TIME, Oct. 6, 1961), make up Australia's greatest fictional creation. Nor is there any doubt as to the embarrassment. White's bleak and austere vision is deeply antipathetic to the semiofficial Australian credo with its jovial good cobbery, manly democratic virtues and no-nonsense sex. White sees Australia, like his defeatist characters, as drifting...

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