Nominated by:

The State Library of South Australia, Adelaide

Publisher of nominated edition:

HarperCollins Australia

The Claimant

Janette Turner Hospital      

2016 Longlist

‘So then, here it is. The unadorned un-self-flattering gospel, the never-before-told story our intricately intertwined lives … Listen: I know things that no one else knows. Trust me.’

Manhattan, 1996: the trial of the Vanderbilt claimant is finally coming to an end. The case – long, complex, riven with unknowns, attracting huge media and social interest – has been seeking to establish whether or not a certain man is the son of the fabulously wealthy and well-connected Vanderbilt family. The son went missing, presumed dead, while serving in the Vietnam War. There is huge fortune, prestige and status at stake. But is the man – a handsome cattle farmer from Queensland – really the Vanderbilt heir? And if so, why does he seem so reluctant to be found? From one of our foremost novelists, The Claimant is a compelling and ravishingly readable novel about the fluid, shifting and ultimately elusive nature of identity and the reasons why people seek to change their names, their identities or their personalities.

(from publisher)

About the Author

Janette Turner Hospital grew up in Brisbane. She taught high school north of Cairns, but since her post-graduate degrees in Canada, she has taught in universities in Canada, Australia, England, France and the United States. She has won a number of prizes for her eight novels and four short-story collections, which have been published in numerous languages. In 2003, she won the Queensland Premier’s Literary Award and the Patrick White Award, and received a Doctor of Letters honoris causa from the University of Queensland.

Librarian’s Comments

A dark and delicious tale which begins as a complex riddle of identity and class divides in wonderfully drawn settings in France, Australia and Manhattan. The story never becomes too cryptic though. Our panel highly recommended this novel.

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