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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.
‘Claustrophobic and vertiginous … an unshrinking and skilfully drawn portrait of a decaying relationship. In restrained prose, Horton illuminates the darker edges of masculinity. His is a frequency finely tuned to silences, gaps of language and meaning, things left unsaid — and their cumulative weight. Like a brewing storm on an oppressive summer day, The Fogging is quiet but assured, building towards the thunderclap of its final pages.’
Jennifer Down, author of Our Magic Hour
‘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
‘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