The Night Guest (MP3 CD)
— Cathy is our lead buyer at Tattered Cover
"The Night Guest
is a stealthily stunning debut novel by Australian writer Fiona
McFarlane. Ruth is an elderly widow living alone by the beach, believing
that a tiger is visiting her home in the night. She is confused and
off-kilter, though managing well enough until Frida arrives, announcing
she is there as a caregiver, assigned to Ruth by the government. No Mary
Poppins, her surprising appearance and takeover of Ruth's life lead to
questions about truth, reality, loyalty and friendship. These two
complicated and compelling characters drew me into their lives and left
me both shaken and awed." ~Cathy L.
October 2013 Indie Next List
“You will be hard-pressed to find a more unsettling read this year. From the very beginning, this tale of a widow living alone in an isolated locale and the mysterious woman who comes to take care of her is filled with a subtle haunting menace that lurks behind even the most simple of day-to-day events. It is the rare kind of novel that is genuinely unexpected and surprising. More than once while reading, you will have to put the book down, pick up the phone, and call your mom to make sure she's alright.”
— Robert Sindelar, Third Place Books, Lake Forest Park, WA
Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside town. Her routines are few and small. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. This woman Frida claims to be a care worker sent by the government. Ruth lets her in.
Now that Frida is in the house, is Ruth right to fear the tiger she hears on the prowl at night, far from its jungle habitat? Why do memories of her childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency? How far can she trust this mysterious woman, Frida, who seems to carry her own troubled past? And how far can Ruth trust herself?
"The Night Guest," Fiona McFarlane's hypnotic first novel, is no simple tale of a crime committed and a mystery solved. This is a story that soars above its own suspense and tells us, with exceptional grace and beauty, about aging, love, trust, dependence, and fear; about processes of colonization; and about things (and people) in places they shouldn t be. Here is a new writer who comes to us fully formed, creating wonders with language, renewing our faith in the power of fiction to describe the mysterious workings of our minds.
About the Author
Fiona McFarlane was born in 1978 in Sydney, Australia, and holds degrees in English from Sydney University and Cambridge University, as well as an M.F.A. from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a Michener Fellow. Her work has been published in The New Yorker, Zoetrope: All-Story, The Missouri Review, and The Best Australian Stories. She lives in Sydney.