Patrick White’s brilliant 1961 novel, set in an Australian suburb, intertwines four deeply different lives. An Aborigine artist, a Holocaust survivor, a beatific washerwoman, and a childlike heiress are each blessed—and stricken—with visionary experiences that may or may not allow them to transcend the machinations of their fellow men. Tender and lacerating, pure and profane, subtle and sweeping, Riders in the Chariot is one of the Nobel Prize winner’s boldest books.
A poetically vivid narrative…It is a finely written novel with a rare flavor. — Pittsburgh Post-Gazette
Riders in the Chariot is the most compassionate and the most beautiful of all Patrick White’s works; colours fly everywhere; his words, comic, ecstatic, are like the brushstrokes on a canvas by Nolan or Blake. — Carmen Callil and Colm Tóibín, The Modern Library: The 200 Best Novels in English Since 1950
Patrick White is an outsider, and his characters are outsiders, outlaws, afflicted, and linked by their affliction. The visionary element in his novels is inseparable from a tough irony and a microscopically close, sometimes savage attention to physical minutiae. The coarser the texture of the physical—of bodies especially—the more likely to be illuminated by flashes of meaning and power. — Rosemary Dinnage