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The Night Guest

A Novel

This book is available for download with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device, and with iTunes on your computer. Books can be read with iBooks on your Mac or iOS device.


A mesmerizing first novel about trust, dependence, and fear, from a major new writer

Ruth is widowed, her sons are grown, and she lives in an isolated beach house outside of town. Her routines are few and small. One day a stranger arrives at her door, looking as if she has been blown in from the sea. This woman—Frida—claims to be a care worker sent by the government. Ruth lets her in.
Now that Frida is in her house, is Ruth right to fear the tiger she hears on the prowl at night, far from its jungle habitat? Why do memories of childhood in Fiji press upon her with increasing urgency? How far can she trust this mysterious woman, Frida, who seems to carry with her own troubled past? And how far can Ruth 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, trust, dependence, and fear; about processes of colonization; and about things (and people) in places they shouldn't be. Here is a new writer who comes to us fully formed, working wonders with language, renewing our faith in the power of fiction to describe the mysterious workings of our minds.

A Kirkus Reviews Best Fiction Book of 2013

From Publishers Weekly

Jul 08, 2013 – A widow contends with loneliness and the subtle indignities of old age in McFarlane s rich and suspenseful debut. At 75, Ruth Field lives alone in the Australian seaside home she once shared with her husband, Harry. Hers is a structured and solitary existence, punctuated by obligatory calls from her adult sons and the occasional sounds of an imagined jungle tiger strolling through her parlor at night. One morning, the commanding Frida Young arrives, claiming to have been sent by the government as a personal aide. Ruth must adjust her once orderly routine to Valkyric Frida, who can fix everything and yet is always wanting... without ever quite admitting it. Together the women explore the vulnerabilities of loneliness and aging, even as clues mount that Frida is not who she claims to be. In Ruth s small and tightly inhabited world, McFarlane gives a flourish to even the smallest observations: Frida exhales through her nose with an equine vigor ; Ruth s furniture appears almost anxious for her approval, as if... waiting for her forgiveness, dressed in its very best clothes. This book is at once a beautifully imagined portrait of isolation and an unsettling psychological thriller.

Customer Reviews

The Night Guest

Ms. McFarlane is a gifted writer to be sure, and I was swept up in the freshness and beauty of her writing as soon as I read the first few pages. I purchased the book on the strength of the sample that was provided.

Somewhere around the middle it began to go in what I'll simply call another direction.

I kept reading, though, because there was a certain amount of momentum carrying me along, and I hoped I was wrong about the direction it seemed to be taking.

However, it continued on its bleak way to an ending that is uninspired and depressing. I can't say anything any more charitable than that, and had I been aware of that I wouldn't have purchased the book.

The Night Guest
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  • $7.99
  • Available on iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, and Mac.
  • Category: Literary
  • Published: Oct 01, 2013
  • Publisher: Farrar, Straus and Giroux
  • Seller: Macmillan / Holtzbrinck Publishers, LLC
  • Print Length: 256 Pages
  • Language: English
  • Requirements: To view this book, you must have an iOS device with iBooks 1.3.1 or later and iOS 4.3.3 or later, or a Mac with iBooks 1.0 or later and OS X 10.9 or later.

Customer Ratings

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