Shortlist year: 
2011
Shortlist category: 
Fiction
Published by: 
Allen & Unwin

About the book

Book cover: Notorious by Roberta Lowing, 2011.

A nameless woman lies horribly scarred and close to death in an Asylum deep in the North African desert.

As the wind calls up a deadly sandstorm, the inhabitants of the Asylum discover they are linked by a diary written by the poet Rimbaud, who in 1890 also confronted the implacable power of the desert. Over the next one hundred and twenty years, everyone who sees the diary will want it. Most will do anything to possessĀ it.

Only the woman, whose dark past is entwined with those who would possess the diary at any cost, sees the true worth of the book. As she surrenders to the transformative power of the desert, only she understands how it exalts the secrets mapped on the diary's precious pages.