I don't know what to make of this book. It is in three parts. The first part, Theodora's life up to the death of her mother, is sublime, sharp and funny and painful with White's amazing sense of Australian landscape, town and country. The second part was bewildering. I kept reading, word by word, hoping it would eventually make sense. It never did. Perhaps Theodora was starting to become ill in Europe, hallucinating part of the time? I imagine that a greater familiarity with the stereotypes of pre-WW2 hotel-dwelling characters would have made the second part funnier, but the pathos was clear, even weaving in and out of Theodora's elusive perception. Still, White is so very spectacular a wordsmith I'll carry on. He's a treat.