By Patrick White,

Book cover of Voss

Book description

Voss describes an epic journey, both physical and spiritual. The eponymous hero, Johann Voss, is based on Ludwig Leichhardt, the nineteenth-century German explorer and naturalist who had already conducted several major expeditions into the Australian outback before making an ambitious attempt to cross the entire continent from east to west…

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Why read it?

2 authors picked Voss as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I first read Voss – Patrick White’s 1957 fictionalised account of the doomed expedition and eventual disappearance of German explorer Ludwig Leichhardt - 25 years ago at university. I returned to it a couple of years ago as I embarked on my fifth novel, similarly set in 19th century Sydney, recalling how I enjoyed the novel in my earlier reading but finding myself, in this my second reading two decades later, utterly blown away by White’s stunning and bitingly witty evocation of mid-1800s Sydney society. 

From Maggie's list on to uncover Sydney’s past.

Patrick White was an Australian writer who won the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1973. Voss is one of his best books, and one that I’ve read again and again, as it brings new insights about human psychology and the Australian landscape with each reading. Set in the mid-nineteenth century, Voss is an epic story of a German explorer who leads a doomed expedition across Australia, even while his relationship with Laura in Sydney develops. The novel is a poignant love story written in the most exquisite language, while it subtly draws out cultural differences between the Indigenous inhabitants and…

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