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The Night Guest

by Fiona McFarlane

eBooks of the Month Relationship Stories

The Night Guest Synopsis

In an isolated house on the New South Wales coast, Ruth - a widow whose sons work abroad - lives alone. Until one day a stranger bowls up, announcing that she's been sent by the authorities to be Ruth's carer. At first, Ruth is happy to have the company. Frida is efficient and helpful, and willing to listen to Ruth's stories about her childhood in Fiji and the man she fell for there. But why does Ruth hear a tiger prowling through the house at night? How far can Ruth trust this enigmatic woman? And how far can she trust herself? This hypnotic tale soars above its own suspense to tell us, with exceptional grace and beauty, about ageing, love, dependence, fear and power, and about the mysterious workings of the mind. Here is a dazzling new writer, reminding us how powerfully fiction can speak to our innermost secrets.

The Night Guest Press Reviews

An enrapturing debut novel that toys with magical realism while delivering a fresh fable... McFarlane's rendering of Ruth's interior is quiet and exacting, and she builds suspense so gently that the danger is, at first, hardly noticeable... A pleasurable novel, with turns of plot and phrase both startling and elegant. -  Kirkus


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


An extraordinary book in which the heroine, Ruth, not yet aware that isolation is a dangerous luxury, exchanges the world's turmoil for silence, in the hope that the essence of things will reveal a small part of its mystery. It is deeply disturbing, and exquisitely written - full of joy and melancholy - and I willingly accept that I will be haunted by its beauty and its truths for a long time to come. The story is told with a certain inevitability, yet at the same time, it surprises, confounds, and torments. It can't be! I kept thinking, when all the while, I knew, of course, that it was just what I feared - a rapturous, fearsome fable of grief and love. -- Susanna Moore


The Night Guest is such an accomplished and polished debut. There's a delicacy and poignancy to the writing, combined with almost unbearable suspense. I love books in which I have no idea what's going to happen next! -- Kate Atkinson, author of Behind the Scenes at the Museum

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9781444776690
Publication date: 19/06/2014
Publisher: Sceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Paperback

ISBN: 9781444776676
Publication date: 16/01/2014
Publisher: Sceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9781444776676
Publication date: 16th January 2014
Author: Fiona McFarlane
Publisher: Sceptre an imprint of Hodder & Stoughton General Division
Format: Hardback
Genres: eBook Favourites, Relationship Stories,

About Fiona McFarlane

Fiona McFarlane was born in Sydney, has a BA from Sydney University and a PhD from Cambridge University, and holds an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin, where she was a Michener Fellow and won the university's prestigious Keene Prize for Literature in 2012. Her work has been published in Zoetrope: All-Story, Southerly, The Missouri Review, and Best Australian Stories, and she has received fellowships from the Fine Arts Work Center in Provincetown, Phillips Exeter Academy, and the Australia Council for the Arts.

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