'The debut of a major Australian writer, The Night Guest is a mesmerising novel about trust, love, dependence, and the fear that the things you think you know may become the things you're least sure about.
One morning an elderly widow called Ruth wakes thinking a tiger has been in her seaside house. Later that day a formidable woman called Frida arrives, looking as if she's blown in from the sea, but who has in fact come to care for Ruth.
Frida and the tiger: both are here to stay, and neither is what they seem. How far can Ruth trust them? And as memories of childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency, how far can she 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 tale that soars above its own suspense to tell us, with exceptional grace and beauty, about ageing, love, power and perception; about how the past can colonise the present, and about things (and people) in places they shouldn't be. Above all, it's a brilliantly involving story about two very particular women.' (Publisher's blurb)
'This essay examines representations of dementia in literary works. It draws a distinction between those representations of dementia symptoms that can be understood as implicit and those that can be understood as explicit. Whereas implicit representations do not treat dementia as a distinct, clearly identified disorder, they nonetheless display a certain similarity to the explicitly medicalized discussion of dementia symptoms. This similarity lies in the fact that dementia symptoms are used to drive forward the narrative action. The essay traces this pattern by analysing different literary works with this feature in common and discusses the significance of this narrative’s dynamic potential for the plasticity of cultural narratives of dementia and old age.' (Publication abstract)