Once upon a time that was called 1828, before all the living things on the land and the fishes in the sea were destroyed, there was a man named William Buelow Gould, who fell in love with a black woman and discovered too late that to love is not safe. Silly Billy Gould, invader of Australia, liar, murderer, forger, fantasist, was condemned to live in the most brutal penal colony in the British Empire, and there ordered to paint a book of fish. This antic, fantastic history of Tasmania from the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Narrow Road to the Deep North won the Commonwealth Writers Prize in 2002.
"[This] is a novel about fish the way Moby-Dick is a novel about whales, or Ulysses is a novel about the events of a single day."—NYTimes