Winner of the Commonwealth Prize
New York Times Book Review—Notable Fiction 2002
Entertainment Weekly—Best Fiction of 2002
Los Angeles Times Book Review—Best of the Best 2002
Washington Post Book World—Raves 2002
Chicago Tribune—Favorite Books of 2002
Christian Science Monitor—Best Books 2002
Publishers Weekly—Best Books of 2002
The Cleveland Plain Dealer—Year’s Best Books
Minneapolis Star Tribune—Standout 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.