A compelling tale of the slow disintegration of a relationship and the unravelling of a man.
Tom and Clara are two struggling academics in their mid-thirties, who decide to take their first holiday in ten years. On the flight over to Indonesia, Tom experiences a debilitating panic attack, something he hasn’t had in a long time, which he keeps hidden from Clara. At the resort, they meet Madeleine, a charismatic French woman, her Australian partner, Jeremy, and five-year-old son, Ollie, and the two couples strike up an easy friendship. The holiday starts to look up, even to Tom, who is struggling to get out of his own head. But when Clara and Madeleine become trapped in the maze-like grounds of the hotel during ‘the fogging’ — a routine spraying of pesticide — the dynamics suddenly shift between Tom and Clara, and the atmosphere of the holiday darkens.
Told with equal parts compassion and irony, and brimming with observations that charm, illuminate, and devastate, The Fogging dives deep into what it means to be strong when your foundation is built on sand.
‘The Fogging is disquieting, compelling, and scrupulously observed, exploring themes of mental illness, interconnectedness, and selfhood. Horton observes his characters with a clear and compassionate eye, rendering his protagonist’s utter humanity and chronic isolation with stark tenderness and an honesty that moves.’
Laura McPhee-Browne, author of Cherry Beach
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‘I loved The Fogging. It’s such a finely controlled novel, so filled with creeping dread and yet so humane in its attention to psychological detail — those subtle doubts and delusions upon which relationships are built — that I could not look away. It raises the quiet inadequacies of ordinary life to the level of grand tragedy.’
Miles Allinson, author of Fever of Animals
‘Unsettling and dreamlike … humorous and yet lingeringly sad. We find ourselves so deeply buried alongside Tom in his introspection, his comic yet touching attempts at self- knowledge, that when the revelation of his misinterpretation of his own relationship arrives, the shock is a kick to the gut.’
Peggy Frew, author of Hope Farm and Islands
‘In this quiet, acute, and often painful book, the peculiarities of 21st-century love and adulthood are evoked stealthily, but all the more forcefully, thanks to Horton’s forensic and poetic approach to the subject.’
Shaun Prescott, author of The Town
‘Luke Horton’s writing is sustained, accomplished, and full of insight. The Fogging is haunting in its familiarity, his characters pervasive in their unwillingness to truly connect, with one another and with themselves.’
Anna Krien, author of Night Games and Act of Grace
‘Much of the pleasure of reading the novel comes from how Horton manages to distil complex social machinations into a few well-crafted sentences, summoning whole lives in brief set pieces from the couple’s various destination adventures … This is a gripping, subtle psychological tragedy for readers who enjoy unconventional travel literature with a focus on male personal identity, such as Miles Allinson’s Fever of Animals or Ben Lerner’s Leaving the Atocha Station.’
David Little, Books+Publishing