"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.--Cathy is our lead buyer at Tattered Cover
Indie Next ListOctober 2013
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.