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The Night Guest

by Fiona McFarlane

One morning Ruth wakes thinking a tiger has been in her seaside house. Later that day a formidable woman called Frida arrives, looking as if she’s blown in from the sea. In fact she’s come to care for Ruth. Frida and the tiger: both are here to stay, and neither is what they seem. Which of them can Ruth trust? And as memories of her childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency, can she even trust herself?


‘The Night Guest is such an accomplished and polished debut.  A delicacy and poignancy to the writing is combined with almost unbearable suspense.’  Kate Atkinson

‘I will be haunted by its beauty and its truths for along time to come . . . A rapturous, fearsome fable of grief and love.’  Susanna Moore

‘Clear-sighted and compelling . . . and you love Ruth as you travel with her to the book’s end.’  Ashley  Hay, Weekend Australian

‘An extraordinary novel.  At once a tender thriller and an exquisitely constructed meditation on time and memory, it is propelled by sentence after sentence of masterful prose.  With The Night Guest, Fiona McFarlane announces herself as a writer to be read, admired, and read again.’  Kevin Powers

‘The best Australian first novel I’ve read in years. I so much admire the intelligence that animates it, and her calm sentences that contain surprises.’  Michelle de Kretser

‘An utterly charming book. Ruth is mischievous, adventurous, and unconventional . . . McFarlane’s style is fresh and full of surprising delights.’ Australian Book Review

 ‘Astonishingly brilliant . . . Such a very rare voice.’  Evie Wyld

‘Sometimes a debut novel burns brighter than the rest, and offers up the promise of literary greatness. The Night Guest is one of these books.’ LA Review of Books

‘An enthralling psychological thriller in which every gesture and detail is loaded with meaning. This stellar debut will haunt you.’ Entertainment Weekly

‘Mesmerising and suspenseful . . . a masterful, magical novel crafted around a very modern dilemma . . . McFarlane’s talent shines.’ Newtown Review of Books

‘A debut of uncommon assurance . . . It seems to rise above the shiny trivia of the last decade’s novels . . . and do what serious fiction can: leave you more interested in the world, more conscious of its enigmas of love and memory, than you were before you read it.’ Chicago Tribune

‘Precise and elegant . . . [with] extraordinary maturity for such a young writer.’ The Independent (UK)

‘Clear-sighted and compelling.’ Weekend Australian


Book Club Notes
21 August, 2013

About Fiona McFarlane

Fiona McFarlane has degrees in English from Sydney University and Cambridge University, and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a Michener Fellow. Her work has been published in Zoetrope: All-StorySoutherly, the Best Australian Stories and the New Yorker. She lives in Sydney.

Other books by Fiona McFarlane


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