Nominated by: The State Library of South Australia, Adelaide
Publisher of nominated edition: HarperCollins Australia
Nomination Citation: A dark and delicious tale which begins as a complex riddle of identity and class divisions in wonderfully drawn settings in France, Australia and Manhattan. The story never becomes too cryptic though. Our panel highly recommended this novel.
Here is one of the most unusual fictional postscripts to Australia’s involvement in Vietnam, besides being a vivid, ambivalent snapshot of American politics of the 1960s as galvanized by
the war…. Hospital combines psychological acuity with command of a range of settings, from luxurious to grunge, that will tempt those who might wish to bring the novel to the screen. In the meantime, readers have a big book to enjoy.
— Sydney Morning Herald
The Claimant shares its vibrantly beating heart with the implications and intricacies of privelege,
the iron grip of lineage, the complexities of naming and identity…and the persistence of the essential self…. Janette Turner Hospital is a splendid prose stylist in command of her art, and amazingly confident in exploring and testing its possibilities—now a lush sensuousness, now a sort of electric sparking precision and, and not least of all her armoury, a free-ranging referencing of literature and art… The Claimant is a genuine page-turner.
— Australian Book Review
The Claimant is a book about spies and collaborators, about art and religion, and its focus is a fictional court case in the late 20th century over a family fortune and the search for a lost heir. Its concern is the way our identities change, even in the simplest ways, depending on the stages of our lives, who we are with, what the expectations are of us—our class, our politics, our nationalities. Told in an intricate and complex way, The Claimant is … a mystery thriller. It’s a feat of plotting, and I imagined Janette Turner Hospital holding all the plot points and identities like a huge hand of cards.
— Australian Broadcasting Commission: National Book Program
[Interview with Romona Koval, who selected The Claimant for nationwide discussion]
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