Andrew McGahan was born in Dalby, Queensland, but has lived and worked mostly in Brisbane. His first novel Praise (1992) was winner of The Australian/Vogel Literary Award. Since then his writing includes award-winning stage and screenplays. His third novel Last Drinks (2000) was shortlisted for multiple awards, including The Age Book of the Year and The Courier Mail Book of the Year, and won a Ned Kelly award for crime writing. In 2004 The White Earth won the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the Commonwealth Writers' Prize, The Age Book of the Year (Fiction) and the Courier Mail Book of the Year Award. It was also shortlisted for the Queensland Premier's Literary Awards that same year.
A fable, an allegory, an exploration of the innermost secrets of both the universe and the mind. Andrew McGahan has once again proved himself to be a chameleon of story telling with his latest book, Wonders of a Godless World, itself a wonder of imagination and discovery. It is as much a journey for the reader as it is for the unnamed orphan girl whose startling presence illuminates this very original tale. I am being deliberately obtuse here as so much of the journey is about the shock of the new. The action takes place on a timeless island where the wordless orphan works as a cleaner in a hospital for the insane. Her constant companions are known only as the duke, the virgin, the witch and the archangel. Into her world is wheeled the comatose foreigner with whom the orphan can communicate. And looming over all of them is the malevolent presence of a brooding volcano. McGahan is a conjuror-- this magical tale of the orphan and the foreigner is utterly original and has its own confounding logic as it hurtles the reader to the edge of the universe and beyond. This is a book whose questions and propositions echo long after its final pages are read. Toni Whitmont is editor in chief at Booktopia, an online bookseller
Praise for Wonders of a Godless World:
`McGahan is a fabulous writer, not only because of the quality of his writing but also because of his courage as an artist.' SYDNEY MORNING HERALD
`...this novel is an impressively sustained feat of imagination.' AUSTRALIAN BOOK REVIEW
`At the heart of this mad novel is a debate about madness itself. Extraordinary.' THE TIMES
`...I was totally swept up by the passion and energy of McGahan's writing, the hint of something truly profound lurking within the narrative...I'll be recommending it to as many people as possible.' CANBERRA TIMES
`The writing rises to invigorating heights.' SUNDAY TASMANIAN