Author(s): Ceridwen Dovey
Almost twenty years after forbidding him to contact her, Vita receives a letter from a man who has long stalked her from a distance. Once, Royce was her benefactor and she was one of his brightest protegees. Now Royce is ailing and Vita's career as a filmmaker has stalled, and both have reasons for wanting to settle accounts. They enter into an intimate game of words, played according to shifting rules of engagement.Beyond their murky shared history, they are both aware they can use each other to free themselves from deeper pasts. Vita is processing the shameful inheritance of her birthplace, and making sense of the disappearance of her beloved. Royce is haunted by memories of the untimely death of his first love, an archaeologist who worked in the Garden of the Fugitives in Pompeii. Between what's been repressed and what has been disguised are disturbances that reach back through decades, even centuries. But not everything from the past is precious: each gorgeous age is built around a core of rottenness.Profoundly addictive and unsettling, In the Garden of the Fugitives is a masterful novel of duplicity and counterplay, as brilliantly illuminating as it is surprising - about the obscure workings of guilt in the human psyche, the compulsion to create and control, and the dangerous morphing of desire into obsession.
A BOOK WE LOVED : When Vita and Royce take up a written correspondence after many years of silence, the reader is taken into story within story within story, as both characters excavate their pasts. Taking us to the archaeological gardens of Pompeii and to post-apartheid South Africa, this is a vivid and profound exploration of love, desire, guilt, loss, and the healing power of writing down one’s own story. I couldn’t stop thinking about this once I put it down - Molly
Ceridwen Dovey was born in South Africa and raised between South Africa and Australia. She studied social anthropology at Harvard as an undergraduate and received her Masters in social anthropology from New York University. Her debut novel, Blood Kin, was published in fifteen countries, shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize, and selected for the US National Book Foundation's prestigious '5 Under 35' honours list. The Wall Street Journal has named her as one of their 'artists to watch.' Her second book of fiction, Only the Animals, was described by The Guardian as a 'dazzling, imagined history of humans' relationship with animals.' Ceridwen lives in Sydney.