> Skip to content
  • Published: 26 February 2018
  • ISBN: 9781926428598
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $32.99

In the Garden of the Fugitives




From the award-winning author of Only the Animals comes an unputdownable novel of obsession, guilt, and the power of the past to possess the present.

Almost twenty years after forbidding him to contact her, Vita receives an email from her old benefactor, Royce. Once, she was one of his brightest protégées; now her career has stalled and Royce is ailing, and each has a need to settle accounts.

Beyond their murky shared history, both have lost beloveds, one to an untimely death, another to a strange disappearance. And both are trying to free themselves from deeper pasts, Vita from the inheritance of her birthplace, Royce from the grip of the ancient city of Pompeii and the secrets of the Garden of the Fugitives. Between what’s been repressed and what has been excavated are disturbances that reach back through decades, even centuries.

Addictive and unsettling, In the Garden of the Fugitives is a masterpiece 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 the dangerous morphing of desire into control. It is the breakthrough work of one of Australia’s most exciting emerging writers.

  • Published: 26 February 2018
  • ISBN: 9781926428598
  • Imprint: Hamish Hamilton
  • Format: Trade Paperback
  • Pages: 320
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Ceridwen Dovey

Ceridwen Dovey is a writer based in Sydney. She’s the author of several acclaimed works of fiction (Blood Kin, Only the Animals, In the Garden of the Fugitives, Life After Truth, Once More With Feeling) and non-fiction (On J.M. Coetzee: Writers on Writers and Inner Worlds Outer Spaces: The Working Lives of Others). Her non-fiction essays have been published by newyorker.com, the Smithsonian Magazine, WIRED, Vogue, the Monthly and Alexander, among many others. She’s the recipient of an Australian Museum Eureka Award, and the 2020 & 2021 UNSW Press Bragg Prize for science writing. Her latest book is Mothertongues, a work of literary fictionco-authored with Eliza Bell, and including original songs by Australian songwriter Keppie Coutts.

Also by Ceridwen Dovey

See all

Praise for In the Garden of the Fugitives

A spellbinding pas de deux of passion and obsession. Mesmerising and mind-expanding. I was transfixed.

Anna Funder

A marvel of tone and texture . . . If, as Freud once said, the stones of antiquity speak to us, then Dovey is their exemplary oracle.

Geordie Williamson, The Weekend Australian

Amazing . . . like Dangerous Liaisons but less campy, more astringent.

The Saturday Paper

Splendidly sinister . . . The novel is richly imagined and Dovey is a terrific writer.

Laura Kroetsch, The Herald Sun

[Dovey] is one of the most exciting writers working in Australia today . . . An expansive and exploratory novel . . . genuinely bold and original . . . In the Garden of the Fugitives is a remarkable book and its author is a star.

Alison Huber, readings.com.au

This novel is brilliant. The story is compelling and addictive . . . A profound insight into the nature of the human psyche.

Melinda Woledge, Good Reading

Not enough is said in praise of literature’s cold touch, its quiet devastations, its beautiful non-answers . . . Dovey is a compelling writer.

Adam Rivett, The Monthly

In a novel unabashedly about ideas, Dovey does not shy away from bluntly confronting big questions head-on, and yet – a testament to her skill – the book, while trembling with meaning, is neither obvious nor cumbersome but unsettlingly alive. Sweeping both geographically and intellectually; a literary page-turner.

Kirkus Reviews

Dovey is one of our best, most original writers . . . Splendid.

David Gaunt, Books & Publishing

Excavation both archaeological and psychological figures prominently in Dovey’s gracefully constructed second novel.

Brendan Driscol, Booklist (starred review)

Discover more

Article
In the Garden of the Fugitives book club notes

Unearth Ceridwen Dovey’s themes of guilt, power, shame and obsession with your book club.

Related titles