‘It is an intensely emotional experience to read The White Garden; although an intensely aesthetic one as well. Dr. Ambrose Goddard is a psychologist who sadistically abuses his patients. (He is based on a real-life Australian case of about a generation ago). His air of superiority and professional know-how masks a desperate and seemingly imperturbable desire to control others, especially young women…’ So begins academic Nicholas Birns’s review of The White Garden in the literary journal Antipodes. He concludes: ‘Bird’s book is a splendid, plangent, and memorable achievement, and a permanent contribution to Australian literature.’
Inspired by the deep sleep therapy scandal in 1960s Sydney, The White Garden begins Carmel Bird’s compelling trilogy examining the dark dangers of charismatic leaders. First published in 1995, it was shortlisted for the Miles Franklin Literary Award, the NBC Banjo Awards, and the Aurealis Awards.
Novelist, essayist and non-fiction writer Carmel Bird was the recipient the Patrick White Award in 2016. Her works include The Blue Bird Café (1990) and the thematically-linked Mandala trilogy The White Garden (1995), Red Shoes (1998) and Cape Grimm (2004). Her most recent novel is the acclaimed Field of Poppies (2019) of which Robert Drewe wrote: ‘How to describe Field of Poppies? A lush feast of wit and wisdom? Writing so rich you simply want to devour it? A forensic examination of an Australian country town? Literary tour de force will have to do.’