The Zookeeper's War, a novel
- Published in Britain & Ireland, Australia & New Zealand, and Spain. Available as an e-book.
- Shortlisted, 2008 COMMONWEALTH WRITERS' PRIZE, Best First Book, S.E. Asia and South Pacific
- Joint runner-up, 2007 Fellowship of Australian Writers’ CHRISTINA STEAD AWARD for Fiction
- Winner, 2008 Australian PRIME MINISTER'S LITERARY AWARD for Fiction
Each night in a bomb shelter beneath the Berlin Zoo an Australian woman, Vera, shelters with her German husband, Axel, the zoo’s director.
Together, they struggle to look after the animals through the air raids and food shortages of war. When the zoo’s staff is drafted into the army, forced labourers are sent in as replacements. At first, Vera finds the idea abhorrent, but gradually she realises that the new workers are the zoo’s only hope, and forms an unexpected bond with one of them.
This is a city where a foreign accent is a constant source of suspicion, where busybodies report the names of neighbours’s dinner guest to the Gestapo. As tensions mount in the closing days of the war, nothing, and no one, it seems, can be trusted.
The Zookeeper’s War is a powerful novel of a marriage under siege in a collapsing city. It confronts not only the brutality of war but the possibility of heroism – and delivers an ending that is both shocking and deeply moving.