Winner of the Commonwealth Prize
New York Times Book ReviewNotable Fiction 2002
Entertainment WeeklyBest Fiction of 2002
Los Angeles Times Book ReviewBest of the Best 2002
Washington Post Book WorldRaves 2002
Chicago TribuneFavorite Books of 2002
Christian Science MonitorBest Books 2002
Publishers WeeklyBest Books of 2002
The Cleveland Plain DealerYear’s Best Books
Minneapolis Star TribuneStandout Books of 2002
Once upon a time, when the earth was still young, before the fish in the sea and all the living things on land began to be destroyed, a man named William Buelow Gould was sentenced to life imprisonment at the most feared penal colony in the British Empire, and there ordered to paint a book of fish. He fell in love with the black mistress of the warder and discovered too late that to love is not safe; he attempted to keep a record of the strange reality he saw in prison, only to realize that history is not written by those who are ruled.
Acclaimed as a masterpiece around the world, Gould’s Book of Fish is at once a marvelously imagined epic of nineteenth-century Australia and a contemporary fable, a tale of horror, and a celebration of love, all transformed by a convict painter into pictures of fish.