The Bath Fugues

Brian Castro



The Bath Fugues is Castro at his best, in a wonderful performance wrought from intrigue, romance, deception – and comedy. The book is composed of three interwoven novellas, the first centred on an ageing art forger; the second on a Portuguese poet, opium addict and collector; the third told by a well-connected doctor, with a cabinet of venom, and an art gallery on the north Queensland coast.

Around these characters circle others, in the contrapuntal manner of the fugue suggested by the book’s title. Some are related, some fugitive, some like the essayist Montaigne, the poet Baudelaire or the philosopher Benjamin, enter the story from the past.

Motifs recur – baths, bicycles, clocks, addiction, the counterfeit – deepening the lines of association and inheritance which bind their lives, and giving weight to the friendships thrust upon them.

‘…one of the most exacting, yet rewarding of Australian novelists, and when the mood is on him, one of the most amusing as well.’ – PETER PIERCE, The Age

‘His way of working has produced startlingly original storytelling, the sort that reminds me, with joy, again and again, that anything is possible in literature.’ – SUE BOND, Asian Review Of Books

Print ISBN : 978-1-920882-55-6
Epdf ISBN : 978-1-925336-80-1
Epub ISBN : 978-1-925336-81-8
pp : 374
May 2009

About the Author

Brian Castro is the author of the prize-winning Australian classic Shanghai Dancing, and recipient of the 2014 Patrick White Literary Award. His recent novels include The Garden Book and The Bath Fugues, both shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, and Street to Street, loosely based on the life of the poet Christopher Brennan. He is Professor of Creative Writing at Adelaide University.


Shortlisted, 2010 Miles Franklin Literary Award
Shortlisted, 2010 Adelaide Festival Award for Fiction