Cate Blanchett's Bookshelf
By Patrick White
Nobel Prize-winner Patrick White is one of Australia's great novelists and playwrights. This story is about Voss, a German explorer, and Laura, a young Sydney woman, who meet very awkwardly in a drawing room one hot afternoon. Voss embarks on a trek across Australia and writes her a series of letters, most of which never reach her; at the same time she writes letters he doesn't receive. It turns out that the act of expressing their true selves in the small, shut-down environment of colonial Australia allows them to fall in love. As a reader, you are in the most intimate position—privy to each one's thoughts. Voss's quest takes him through the center of Australia, which no white man has ever conquered and from which he won't return. But along this fruitless journey, he becomes more self-aware and more involved with this woman he will never meet again. It's horrible and tragic and unforgettable.