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The Claimant

The Claimant

Janette Turner Hospital is a writer of consummate craft and visionary insight.

— Joyce Carol Oates

Janette Turner Hospital is not just a great Australian novelist and a great Southern novelist; she is one of the greatest living novelists in the English language.

— Ron Rash

Hospital’s language is juicy with sensuous details, seething with dense metaphors, cross-reference and word play. This is maximalist writing, impressively intelligent and witty... Her prose crackles with energy and imaginative excitement...

— New York Times Book Review

Hospital is one of the most powerful and innovative writers in English today.
— Times Literary Supplement (U.K.)

In the turbulent political summer of 1968, the lives of four very different people become inextricably intertwined. All four are shape-shifters, identity-switchers, two for criminal reasons, two for blameless purposes of survival. One of the four is a smooth con man, a charmer similar in style to Bernie Madoff, stylish, gentlemanly, classy and unencumbered by a conscience. Another is an equally charming and even smoother serial killer who never arouses suspicion. The four lives are scattered (to Vietnam, to France, to Australia) but are drawn back together in Manhattan in 1996 for the trial of the Vanderbilt claimant and a tense thriller climax.

The Claimant

The Claimant

Published by Fourth Estate/HarperCollins Australia in 2014

Manhattan, 1996: the trial of the Vanderbilt claimant is finally coming to an end. The case—long, complex, riven with unknowns, attracting huge media interest—has been seeking to establish whether or not a certain man is the son and sole heir of the wealthy and well-connected Vanderbilt family. The son was reported missing in action, presumed killed, while serving in the Vietnam War. There is fortune, prestige and status at stake. But is the man—a handsome cattle farmer from Queensland, Australia—really the Vanderbilt heir? And if so, why does he seem so reluctant to be found?

From one of Australia’s foremost and acclaimed writers, The Claimant is a brilliant contemporary reworking of the Tichborne case, a legal cause célèbre in both the Australian and the British press in the late nineteenth century. Intriguing, compelling, and ravishingly readable, it explores the fluid, shifting, and ultimately elusive nature of identity, and the reasons people seek to change their names, their identities, and even their very histories.


Forecast: Turbulence

Forecast: Turbulence

Violent weather pervades this breathtaking collection, reflecting the cataclysmic emotions swirling through the lives of the protagonists. A loner becomes obsessed with the face of a beautiful neighbor whom he has never actually met, though his fantasies about her, unwisely shared with others, lead to his being falsely accused of her murder. Two feisty yet fragile teenagers meet in the prison where they are forced to visit their abusive stepfathers. The upward trajectory of talented and academically successful sisters takes a nose-dive following the terribly public exposure of their father as a pedophile.

These stories, of heartbreaking poignancy, shocking power and steadfast resolve, all grapple with a universal question: how can we maintain equilibrium in a turbulent and uncertain world?

Reviews of Forecast: Turbulence

To order a copy of FORECAST: TURBULENCE online:

Orpheus Lost: Australian   Orpheus Lost: Canadian   Orpheus Lost: US hardcover   Orpheus Lost: US Norton Paperback  

Orpheus Lost

In search of her lover, Leela travels into an underworld of kidnapping, torture and despair, in this compelling re-imagining of the Orpheus story.

Achingly sensual, effortlessly lyrical, Janette Turner Hospital's dazzling Orpheus Lost  is a powerful and disturbing novel. It is both a love story on a grand scale that spans America, Australia and Baghdad, and an examination of what happens to individuals when terrible mistakes are made in the name of 'national security'.

Publication date (Australia): 1 May 2007

North of Nowhere, South of Loss   Due Preparations for the Plague   Oyster   Collected Stories   The Last Magician   Isobars

North of Nowhere,
South of Loss


Due Preparations
for the Plague




Collected Stories


The Last Magician



Charades   Dislocations   Borderline   The Tiger in the Tiger Pit   The Ivory Swing   Inheritance - South Carolina Fiction Project







The Tiger
in the Tiger Pit


The Ivory Swing