An exquisite historical novel about a remarkable man who chose his own path, charming and scandalizing others in equal measure the cowinner of the Australian/Vogel Literary Award
It's the 1880s and Marvellous Melbourne is a lavish and raucous city where anything can happen. Eccentric entrepreneur Edward William Cole is building the sprawling Cole's Book Arcade and filling it with whatever amuses him or supports his favorite causes: a giant squid, a brass band, monkeys, a black man whose skin has turned white, a Chinese tea salon, and of course, hundreds of thousands of books. When Edward decides to marry he advertises for a wife in the newspaper, shocking and titillating the whole town. To everyone's surprise he marries his broadsheet bride and the arcade grows into a monumental success. But the 1890s depression hits hard for Melbourne and Edward and the death of one of his children leaves him reeling. Grief, corruption, and a beautiful, unscrupulous widow all threaten to derail his singular vision. But it's not until he visits Chinatown one night and his own deeply suppressed past that the idealist faces his toughest challenge.This is thevivid, fascinatingstory of a man who lives life on his own terms, and leaves behind a remarkable legacy."