Love can take you to the darkest places.

In this compelling re-imagining of the Orpheus story, Leela travels to an underworld of kidnapping, torture and despair in search of her lover, Mishka.

Leela is a mathematical genius who escaped her home town to study in Boston.  From her first moment she hears the young Australian musician Mishka busking in a subway, his music grips her, and they quickly become lovers.

Then one day Leela is taken to an interrogation centre somewhere outside the city.  There has been an 'incident', an explosion on the underground; terrorists are suspected, security is high.  And her old childhood friend Cobb is conducting a very questionable investigation.  Over the years Cobb has not forgotten Leela nor the secrets she knows.

Now he reveals to her that Mishka may not be all he seems.  That there may be more to his story of growing up in the Daintree rainforest in northern Queensland among an eccentric musical family.  Leela has already discovered that some nights Mishka claims to be at the music lab are actually spent at a cafe.  A cafe, Cobb tells her, known to be a terrorist contact point.

Who can she believe?


Janette Turner Hospital

Janette Turner Hospital was born in Melbourne in 1942, but her family moved to Brisbane when she was a child.  She began her teaching career in remote Queensland high schools, but since her graduate studies she has taught in universities in Australia, Canada, England, France, and the United States.  Her first published short story appeared in the Atlantic Monthly (USA) where it won an "Atlantic First" citation in 1978.  Her first novel, The Ivory Swing (set in the village in South India where she lived in 1977) won Canada's Seal Award (a $50,000 prize) in 1982.  She lived for many years in Canada, and in 1986 she was listed by the Toronto Globe & Mail as one of Canada's "Ten Best Young Fiction Writers".  Since then she has won a number of prizes for her seven novels and three short story collections, and her work has been published in twelve languages.  Three of her short stories appeared in Britian's annual Best Short Stories in English in their year of publication and one of these, "Unperformed Experiments Have No Results", was selected for The Best of the Best, an anthology of the decade in 1995. Her novel Oyster was a finalist for the Miles Franklin Award, the National Book Council Banjo Award and Canada's Trillium Award.  It was a New York Times "Notable Book of the Year", and one of the Observer's Best Books of the Year in the UK. Due Preparations for the Plague won the Queensland Premier's Award for Fiction and the Davitt Award for "Best Crime Novel by an Australian woman in 2003".  It was shortlisted for the New South Wales Premier's Christiana Stead Award for Fiction. In 2003 Janette Turner Hospital received the Patrick White Award for lifetime literary achievement. Janette Turner Hospital holds an endowed chair as Carolina Distinguished Professor of Literature at the University of South Carolina.

Country of Origin



Year of Publication
Review ORPHEUS LOST - Janette Turner Hospital
Karen Chisholm
Tuesday, September 18, 2007

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