ABBEY'S BOOKSELLER PICK ---- I adore McGahan's books, so it was with some sadness I read this one, his last, completed as he was dying. It's longer than anything else he wrote, and I can't help feeling if he had lived longer, the book would be shorter. He apologises in his foreword that he would have fixed it if he had had the time… Leaving aside the fact it would probably have been edited and smoothed down, this is an interesting read. Sometimes there are sections where the reader could wonder if they were the deliberate plants of a writer who knew his own mortality loomed, so he could say whatever he felt like, because who will criticise a dying man?
Rita Gausse has reluctantly accepted an invitation from her late, estranged father's last client. Richard Gausse was a world-renowned and controversial architect, and the house he has built for one of the wealthiest men in the world is no less a masterpiece. It is on an islet near the largest mountain in the world, and Walter Richman is the only person who has ever gained the summit of the 25 km high peak. As the small house party gathers, Rita becomes increasingly uneasy. Once she was known for her odd theories concerning the sentience of nature, something she has successfully put behind her - but as time passes she is aware of something malign within the house…
Written with quasi-scientific reports, journalistic articles and histories woven into the narrative, this is a story that needs stamina and perseverence - but perhaps, like finally reaching the top of a mountain, it is ultimately rewarding. Lindy Jones
In the freezing Antarctic waters south of Tasmania, a mountain was discovered in 1642 by the seafaring explorer Gerrit Jansz. Not just any mountain but one that Jansz estimated was an unbelievable height of twenty-five thousand metres.
In 2016, at the foot of this unearthly mountain, a controversial and ambitious 'dream home', the Observatory, is painstakingly constructed by an eccentric billionaire - the only man to have ever reached the summit.
Rita Gausse, estranged daughter of the architect who designed the Observatory is surprised, upon her father's death, to be invited to the isolated mansion to meet the famously reclusive owner, Walter Richman. But from the beginning, something doesn't feel right. Why is Richman so insistent that she come? What does he expect of her?
When cataclysmic circumstances intervene to trap Rita and a handful of other guests in the Observatory, cut off from the outside world, she slowly begins to learn the unsettling - and ultimately horrifying - answers.The Rich Man's House, Andrew McGahan's eleventh and final novel, is a gripping and unique thriller.