chapter  1
Beyond Narratology?
Pages 21

Through the pervasive motif of 'waiting', The Aunt's Story represents itself intratextually as suspended between those two sorts of storytelling. Four times in the first three pages Theodora Goodman is said to be 'waiting'. Theodora lacks any clear sense of direction; she is 'waiting to be told', she says. In this state of passivity she becomes a kind of imaginary participant in the fragmentary life-stories of those around her. But this role, that of a character rather than a narrator, is merely vicarious. The Aunt's Story represents fragmentation in psychological and spiritual terms: as a plight to be faced individually. The Aunt's Story, a novel by Nobel Prize winner Patrick White which has come to be recognised as one of the outstanding achievements of late modernism, and 'The Hind of the Further', a collage of verbal and graphic elements assembled by the avant-garde American writer Jaimy Gordon.