The Last Garden [Miles Franklin 2018 Shortlist]
This novel confirms Hornung as one of Australia’s finest writers. Set in an indeterminate rural location during the 19th century, this story begins with an act of violence that leaves Benedict, bereft. Unmoored by grief he moves into a barn, where the horses and farm animals show him a way back towards humanity. Almost gothic in its imagery, there are several scenes that will live on in your memory long after you finish the book. Gavin
''Astonishing...A strange, sombre, sobering triumph.'' Sydney Morning Herald
The settlement of Wahrheit, founded in exile to await the return of the Messiah, has been waiting longer than expected. Pastor Helfgott has begun to feel the subtle fraying of the community''s faith.
Then Matthias Orion shoots his wife and himself, on the very day their son Benedict returns home from boarding school.
Benedict is unmoored by shock, severed from his past and his future. Unable to be inside the house, unable to speak, he moves into the barn with the horses and chooks, relying on the animals'' strength and the rhythm of the working day to hold his shattered self together.
The pastor watches over Benedict through the year of his crazy grief: man and boy growing, each according to his own capacity, as they come to terms with the unknowable past and the frailties of being human.
Eva Hornung, formerly published as Eva Sallis, was born in Bendigo and now lives in rural South Australia. Her first novel Hiamwon the Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1997 and the Nita May Dobbie Award in 1999 while The Marsh Birdswon the Asher Literary Award 2005. The highly acclaimed Dog Boywas shortlisted for numerous prizes and won the Prime Minister''s Literary Award in 2010. The Last Gardenwon the Premier''s Award in the 2018 Adelaide Festival Awards for Literature.
''A cut black gem of a book: beautiful, compact, and sinister.'' Andrew Fuhrmann, Best Books of 2017, Australian Book Review
''In luminous prose Hornung paints a closed religious community awaiting the overdue coming of their Messiah and a violently orphaned boy tutored by nature.'' Adelaide Advertiser, Favourite Books of the Year
''Hornung writes with extraordinary force and insight...an amazing feat of imaginative power.'' Canberra Times
''There''s human violence and the strength of animals...just gripping.'' Australian
''Vivid, visceral and disconcerting. The descriptions of animals are intensely empathetic, and the book raises fundamental and confronting questions about how our animal and our human selves can or should co-exist.'' Books + Publishing
''Hornung is a writer of extraordinary power, using her omniscient narrator to inhabit the minds of Benedict''s father, the grieving child and the faltering pastor, following the flux of their thoughts with elegance and precision...An unusual and hypnotic novel.'' Age
''Eight years after the magical, Prime Minister''s Literary Award-winning Dog Boy, what a joy it is to have another beautifully-wrought novel by Adelaide author Eva Hornung.'' Adelaide Advertiser
''Like all great literary fiction, The Last Gardenprovokes thought and empathy in equal measure. This visceral and utterly compelling new novel represents an ambitious new layer to Hornung''s continued investigation of the human condition, magnificently realised.'' Readings
''This is a novel that is calm and patient in its telling, and almost hypnotic in its effect. What Hornung emphasises is that it''s neither our hopes for the future, nor the suffering of our pasts, that saves us. Rather, it''s in the act of living -- the way we attune ourselves to the shifting demands of the world around us; the use we make of the time between "the first garden ... and the last" -- that redemption is to be found.'' Australian
''It''s melancholy, beautiful, and deeply evocative. Michael Cathcart admitted to the writer that he knew he was going to love it from page one.'' Michael Cathcart, Radio National
''Eva Hornung understands how critical human relationships with animals can be.'' Guardian
''Yes, there are grotesque and sinister surprises aplenty in this weird prodigy of a book, but there is a lot of tenderness and an extraordinary beauty too.''Saturday Paper
''Melancholy, beautiful, and deeply evocative.'' RN Books and Arts
''Full of symbolism but not overpowered by it, this is a powerful book, and the writing is mesmerising.'' Herald Sun
''The Last Gardenis by no means a long read but it is a big novel. Hornung''s characters, in all their awed complexity, will stay with you long after the covers of this powerful book are closed.'' Australian Book Review
''Hornung''s knowledge and deep respect for the spiritual and emotional relationships between humans and animals shine through in her exquisite, glittering prose. This gentle, literary novel is a moving meditation on the heavy mist of grief, and will bring back a dark solace to the tormented heart.'' Big Issue
''Deep despair was cushioned by gorgeous writing in Eva Hornung''s The Last Garden.'' Bram Presser, Sydney Morning Herald''s Year in Reading
''Hornung has given an allegory for the modern world...Genuine feeling for others is so much more important than adhering to doctrine. In this novel, when the lessons are learned, the Garden of Eden can have a different ending.'' Newtown Review of Books
''An extraordinarily powerful, unsettling and at times deeply moving tale.'' Sydney Review of Books
''Harrowing reading, yet it''s beautiful too. An extraordinary novel.'' ANZ LitLovers
* Major profile interviews in leading Australian and New Zealand papers * National radio interviews on RN Books & Arts Daily and Radio NZ Kim Hill * Local ABC interviews, including 891 ABC Radio Adelaide * Adelaide launch * Wide review coverage in newspapers, literary journals and online in Australia and NZ * Dedicated bookseller and influential reader mailout * Early reading copies available in March (including at the Leading Edge bookseller conference) * Dedicated advertising in the Monthly magazine * Dedicated advertising in the Good Weekend (Melbourne and Sydney) * Shared advertising in ABR and the Big Issue * Advertising in bookseller newsletters; significant budget for cataloguing around Mother's Day * Major online marketing campaign including wide distribution of chapter sampler via Facebook * A dedicated South-Australia focused print and online advertising campaign * Promotion with the online booklover community Better Reading * Feature title in Text newsletters, website and social media campaigns * Reading group notes available on publication.
'Dog Boy is a wonderful novel, a tour de force.' -- John Burnside Guardian UK 'Hornung writes with extraordinary force and insight...an amazing feat of imaginative power.' Canberra Times 'Astonishing...A strange, sombre, sobering triumph.' Sydney Morning Herald 'There's human violence and the strength of animals...just gripping.' Australian
Eva Hornung was born in Bendigo and now lives in rural South Australia. Formerly published as Eva Sallis, Hornung is an award-winning writer of literary fiction and criticism- her first novel Hiam won the Australian/Vogel Literary Award in 1997 and the Nita May Dobbie Award in 1999. The Marsh Birds won the Asher Literary Award 2005 and was shortlisted for numerous awards including the Age Book of the Year 2005, NSW Premier's Literary Award and the Commonwealth Writers' Prize. Eva Hornung's highly acclaimed Dog Boy was shortlisted for numerous prizes and won the Prime Minister's Literary Award in 2010.