> Skip to content
  • Published: 23 September 2015
  • ISBN: 9780143573470
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $22.99

Blood Kin




In her stunning debut novel, award-winning author Ceridwen Dovey reveals how humanity's most atavistic impulses – vanity, vengeance and greed – seethe, relentlessly, just beneath the surface of civilization.

Shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Prize A chef, a portraitist and a barber are taken hostage in a coup to overthrow their boss, the President. They are held captive in the President's summer residence in the mountains while far below them, the capital swelters as chaos reigns.

Meanwhile, the chef's daughter, the portraitist's pregnant wife and the barber's lover await their own fates, their love as dangerous a liability as any political affiliation.

In her stunning debut novel, award-winning author Ceridwen Dovey reveals how humanity's most atavistic impulses – vanity, vengeance and greed – seethe, relentlessly, just beneath the surface of civilization.

'A story about how the lightest taste of power so easily stimulates our limitless appetite for sadism. Dovey . . . presents her case so meticulously and relentlessly that you've got to respect her authority. New York Times Sunday Book Review

'A lovely, haunting novel, written with great care and precision . . . a really fine debut.' Colum McCann, author of Let The Great World Spin

'A meticulously constructed story about political corruption and its impact on people's lives . . . ingenious.' Sydney Morning Herald

  • Published: 23 September 2015
  • ISBN: 9780143573470
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 192
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Ceridwen Dovey

Ceridwen is a Sydney-based writer of fiction, creative non-fiction, and in-depth essays and profiles. Born in South Africa, she grew up between South Africa and Australia, went to Harvard University on scholarship as an undergraduate, and did her postgraduate studies in social anthropology at New York University.Her debut novel, Blood Kin, was shortlisted for the Dylan Thomas Award and selected for the U.S. National Book Foundation’s prestigious "5 Under 35" honours list. Her second book, Only the Animals, won the inaugural 2014 Readings New Australian Writing Award, the Steele Rudd Award for a short story collection in the Queensland Literary Awards, and was co-winner of the People's Choice Award for Fiction at the 2015 NSW Premier's Literary Awards. The book is on the VCE Literature Text selection (for high school students in Victoria).Her 2018 novel, In the Garden of the Fugitives, described by The New York Times as "an elegant...impressive, thought-provoking novel," was published around the world and longlisted for the 2019 ABIA Awards. Her memoir-biography, On J.M. Coetzee: Writers on Writers, was published in 2018 as part of Black Inc.'s acclaimed Writers on Writers series. In 2019, Penguin Random House published a collected edition of Ceridwen's profiles of people in unusual careers, Inner Worlds Outer Spaces: The Working Lives of Others. Ceridwen regularly contributes essays and articles to many publications, including newyorker.com, the Monthly, WIRED, the Smithsonian Magazine, and Good Weekend. Her essays have been selected for The Best Australian Science Writing 2020, The Best Australian Science Writing 2019, The Best American Science and Nature Writing 2018, and The Best Australian Essays 2015. She has a special interest in social justice and environmental ethics in outer space.Her latest novel, Life After Truth, is forthcoming from Penguin Random House in November, 2020.

Also by Ceridwen Dovey

See all

Related titles