'The settlement of Wahrheit, founded in exile to await the return of the Messiah, has been waiting longer than expected. Pastor Helfgott has begun to feel the subtle fraying of the community’s faith.
'Then Matthias Orion shoots his wife and himself, on the very day their son Benedict returns home from boarding school.
'Benedict is unmoored by shock, severed from his past and his future. Unable to be inside the house, unable to speak, he moves into the barn with the horses and chooks, relying on the animals’ strength and the rhythm of the working day to hold his shattered self together.
'The pastor watches over Benedict through the year of his crazy grief: man and boy growing, each according to his own capacity, as they come to terms with the unknowable past and the frailties of being human.' (Publication summary)
Dedication: For my father
'The Miles Franklin award is famously for “a novel which is of the highest literary merit and presents Australian life in any of its phases”. That’s a very broad palette, yet for most of the award’s existence — 1957 to the present — it has recognised a rather narrow field of “Australian life”.' (Introduction)
'Adelaide Hills author Eva Hornung is a "little surprised' The Last Garden has attracted the attention of literary judges but her 2017 novel - which is on the Miles Franklin shortlist after winning the South Australian Premier's Award for Fiction earlier this year - is a powerful Australian fable.' (Introduction)
'Eva Hornung shows us that the story of the Garden of Eden can have a different ending.'
'The opening sentence of Eva Hornung’s seventh novel, The Last Garden, encapsulates how strange and how mesmerising in her clarity her writing can be:
On a mild Nebelung’s afternoon, Matthias Orion, having lived as an exclamation mark in the Wahrheit settlement and as the capital letter at home, killed himself.'