'Through the crumbling ruins of the once splendid Xanadu, Miss Hare wanders, half-mad. In the wilderness she stumbles upon an Aboriginal artist and a Jewish refugee. They place themselves in the care of a local washerwoman. In a world of pervasive evil, all four have been independently damaged and discarded. Now in one shared vision they find themselves bound together, understanding the possibility of redemption.'
Source: Publisher's blurb (Vintage ed.).
'During my childhood in Castle Hill, a western Sydney suburb of housing developments, colonial weatherboards and bush blocks, I walked each week from school to piano lessons. The route took me down Showground Road where Patrick White and his partner Manoly bought six acres and a bungalow—‘a bit of Strathfield in a paddock’—in 1948. They named their house Dogwoods, and lived there for eighteen years.' (Introduction)
Settled by white convicts and often by people with few prospects in the Old World, Australia was sometimes thought of negatively as a dumping ground of miscreants and ne’er-do-wells. This paper traces how, post-war, this perception was challenged in the fiction of Patrick White and David Malouf, which depicts local versions of the outcast artist in actual rubbish dumps and the creative, regenerative transformations that can occur there.