In her thrilling novel Orpheus Lost (Norton, paperback, $14.95), author Janette Turner Hospital again shows her genius, interweaving a literary thriller with a story of passion and the triumph of decency in confusing and dangerous times. Achingly sensual, effortlessly lyrical, Hospital’s dazzling Orpheus Lost is a powerful and disturbing novel.
* Janette Turner Hospital is a 2014 Inductee into the South Carolina Academy of Authors.
Leela is a mathematician who has escaped her Southern hometown to study in Boston. She meets an Australian musician, Mishka, and from the moment she first hears him play his music grips her; they quickly become lovers.
Then one day Leela is picked up off the street and taken to an interrogation center somewhere outside the city. There has been an explosion in the subway; terrorism is suspected. The interrogator—an old childhood friend—now reveals to her that Mishka may not be all he seems.
In this compelling re-imagining of the Orpheus story, Leela travels into an underworld of kidnapping, torture, and despair in search of her lover. Orpheus Lost is both a love story on a grand scale that spans America, Australia and Baghdad, and an examination of what happens to individuals when terrible mistakes are made in the name of ‘national security.’
About the author:
Janette Turner Hospital grew up on the steamy sub-tropical coast of Australia in the north-eastern state of Queensland. 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.
The author of nine books (including one crime novel under the name Alex Juniper) and four short-story collections, Hospital believes in resilience and redemption. No matter how dark the events her characters endure in her work, she always offers them a chance at hope in the end.
Her first published short story appeared in the Atlantic Monthly 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 l977) won Canada’s $50,000 Seal Award in l982. She lived for many years in Canada and in 1986 she was listed as 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 eight novels and four short story collections and her work has been published in multiple foreign language collections.
For over a decade, she held an endowed chair as Carolina Distinguished Professor of English at the University of South Carolina and in 2003 received the Russell Research Award for Humanities and Social Sciences, conferred by the university for the most significant faculty contribution (research, publication, teaching and service) in a given year. Now, as Carolina Distinguished Professor Emerita, Hospital continues to mentor students and teach one course each year.