Listed in Toronto Star’s 'Best 10 Novels
of the Year'
Shortlisted for Miles Franklin Award and the
National Book Award, Australia
Listed by Times and Observer
on the 'long short list' of 16 books for the Booker Prize in 1989
(the same year that both Julian Barnes and Martin
Amis were on the 'long short list' but not among the six finalists)
Listed in New York Times Book Review's
'Most Notable Books of the Year'
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
Janette Turner Hospital's playful new novel should
be subtitled "Scheherazade meets Heisenberg.".. Charades
...questions how we reinvent myths in the age of quantum mechanics...
a mutilayered, tantalizing and ultimately quite serious story...
In reaching toward physics as a controlling metaphor, Charades
is even more ambitious than her three previous, perceptive, underrated
works. Ms Hospital devotes such care to the conversations between
Koenig and Charade that she seems to hope for a marriage between
old-fashioned myth-making and the scientific principles of a century
in which time itself has been reinvented.... returning to a method
of storytelling as old as Scheherazade herself.
— Caryn James, New York Times (weekday
'Books of the Times')
A complex and elegant story of love and obsession...
dense with meanings and associations...Hospital’s writing
is clever and lyrical, and her characterization superb.
— Washington Post Book World
I never thought that I would find myself being
seduced by a novel about a provincial Australian girl's search for
her lost father whose aesthetic was loosely based on the Heisenberg
principle – but here I am, having just finished reading Charades...
and ready to urge you to pick it up and read it as soon as you can...
Janette Turner Hospital [brings] together such oddments as lost
love and opposing theories of modern physics, life in the tropical
Pacific and cold Boston and Toronto, the Kennedy assassination and
revisionist theories of the Holocaust, and [makes] out of them a
reality quite seamless and convincing... This mixture of intelligence
and sensuality, idea and deeply felt drama all took me quite by
— Chicago Tribune
Wonderfully subtle and complex
— San Francisco Chronicle
A triumphant masterpiece
— USA Booklist
What a novel... Charade's stories of scruffy childhoods,
Bea's and her own, are original, colorful and endearing... This
Australian-born and raised writer ought to be better known among
Wildly imaginative... a contemporary version of
the 1001 Nights... stunning. Hospital writes with luminous
wit and ripe sensuality.
— Valerie Miner, Los Angeles Times
Her prose is lucid, sensuous, hard... Only such
a first-rate novelist could use the dry material of philosphy and
physics to make the hard, compelling narrative stuff of human life.
— Independent, UK
Charades makes us realize... with what
dazzling power her fiction shines...... a novel in which scientific
ideas press upon memory and the flesh... in the prose of Janette
Turner Hospital, the musings of Heisenberg are as much at home as
the scrub turkeys the child Charade watched fussing around nest
mounds in the Queensland rainforest.
— Australian Book Review
... her writing simply hums and crackles with
pace and tension... Charades is an example of that old-fashioned,
almost extinct phenomenon, the novel you can't put down.
— Melbourne Age
You could see it as a bicentennial gift –
a first Australian novel from an extraordinarily talented Australian
writer who has confused the parochial literary issue by placing
herself and most of her work in far-off Canada and India and Boston.
Janette Turner Hospital's third novel Borderline (1985)
is one of the most perfectly satisfying novels I have ever read.
...Charades is as fascinating, as challenging, as stylishly, enthrallingly
readable as Borderline....
Oh yes! – tucked away in Ontario... Turner Hospital knows
her Australia and brings it brilliantly to life...
— Katherine England, Adelaide Advertiser
Janette Turner Hospital goes from strength to
literary strength – ever brilliant in ideas, graceful in expression,
resourceful in story – and in Charades throwing in,
for good measure, a heady eroticism. I loved it.
— Fay Weldon (Booker Prize judge, 1989)
Vividly imagined... keeps the reader in thrall.
— David Lodge (Booker Prize judge, 1989)
Charades reaches beyond mere intellectual
brilliance and touches something of the paradoxical quality of being
— Macleans, Canada
...a journey of strange and beautiful complexity
through some of the finest prose written anywhere today... the only
certainty in this novel is its astonishing brilliance.
— Toronto Star