On a property in New South Wales, a man named Holland lives with his daughter Ellen. As years pass and Ellen grows into a beautiful young woman, her father announces his decision: she will marry the first man who can name all the species of the eucalypt, down to the last tree.
Murray Bail was born in Adelaide in 1941, and now lives in Sydney. His first novel, Homesickness, won the National Book Award for Australian Literature and the Melbourne Age Book of the Year Award. His subsequent novel, Holden's Performance, won the Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction. His non-fiction includes an acclaimed monograph on the work of the painter Ian Fairweather.