On a country property a man named Holland lives with his daughter Ellen. Over the years, as she grows into a beautiful young woman, he plants hundreds of different gum trees on his land. When Ellen is nineteen her father announces his decision: she will marry the man who can name all the species of eucalypt, down to the last tree. Suitors emerge from all corners, including the formidable, straight-backed Mr Cave, world expert on the varieties of eucalypt. And then, walking among her father’s trees, Ellen chances on a strange young man who in the days that follow tells her dozens of stories set in cities, deserts, faraway countries....
Haunting and mesmerising, Eucalyptus illuminates the nature of storytelling itself.
"...[I]t's a pleasure simply to be immersed in Bail's caprice-prone mind." (The New York Times Book Review)
"Curious power is precisely what this novel delivers. Part of its charm is its style, the quirky sentences that rarely go where we expect, the sinister Arthur Machenesque beauty of the landscape descriptions, the meandering stories that fail to deliver their expected allegories, that never really end but instead begin others." (The Washington Post)
"One of the great and most surprising courtships in literature." (Michael Ondaatje)
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