The Night Guest

The Night Guest

3.44 (5,429 ratings by Goodreads)
By (author) 

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Shortlisted for the Guardian First Book Award
Winner of the inaugural Voss Literary Prize
Joint winner of the Barbara Jefferis Award

In an isolated house on the New South Wales coast, Ruth, a widow whose sons have flown the nest, lives alone. Until one day a stranger bowls up, announcing that she's Frida, sent to be Ruth's carer.

At first, Ruth welcomes Frida's vigorous presence and her willingness to hear Ruth's tales of growing up in Fiji. She even helps reunite Ruth with a childhood sweetheart. But why does Ruth sense a tiger prowling through the house at night? Is she losing her wits? Can she trust the enigmatic Frida? And how far can she trust herself?
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Product details

  • Paperback | 304 pages
  • 132 x 197 x 19mm | 200g
  • Sceptre
  • London, United Kingdom
  • English
  • None
  • 144477669X
  • 9781444776690
  • 44,188

Review Text

A powerfully distinctive narrative about identity and memory, the weight of life and the approach of death
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Review quote

This debut novel stands out among the year's strongest so far, with its delicately told story of two women whose lives temporarily entwine: one an ageing widow, the other a larger-than-life carer who inveigles herself into the widow's emotional life - and home. Its cool, controlled prose explores the intersections between dementia, unreliable narration, and elderly exploitation, regarding loss, ageing and racial tension without a hint of cliche. And it's a tension-filled psychological thriller to boot, all inspiring the use of that overused phrase 'a must read'. * Independent on Sunday * Horribly believable, The Night Guest is an impressive debut novel that sustains the tense unravelling of its mystery. * The Sunday Times * This psychological thriller feels uneasily close to the realities many families face . . . What's real and what's imagined are terrifyingly difficult to distinguish. It's surreal and menacing. * The Times * McFarlane exploits the vulnerably blurry boundaries of memory here to create a subtle and beguiling crescendo of suspense . . . A limpid, beautiful novel. * Daily Mail * A witty, poetic psychological thriller in which the reader becomes so firmly embedded in Ruth's mind that one cannot help but sympathise with her confusion * Financial Times * A powerfully distinctive narrative about identity and memory, the weight of life and the approach of death * Guardian * Beautifully written and psychologically tense . . . extraordinarily accomplished * Sunday Express * You wouldn't think this was a debut novel, it is so accomplished and confident . . . A witty, menacing psychological thriller * Mumsnet *
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About Fiona McFarlane

Fiona McFarlane's first novel, The Night Guest, was shortlisted for the Guardian First Book and Miles Franklin awards, and won the Voss Literary Prize and New Premier's Literary Award among others. She followed it with a collection of short stories, The High Places, which won the Dylan Thomas Prize. Born in Sydney, she has a BA from Sydney University, a PhD from Cambridge University, and an MFA from the University of Texas at Austin. She now lives in Berkeley, California where she teaches at the university.
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Rating details

5,429 ratings
3.44 out of 5 stars
5 14% (733)
4 37% (2,023)
3 33% (1,796)
2 12% (663)
1 4% (214)
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