Nights in the Asylum - Australian trade paperback edition book cover


If you believe that you will never need to seek asylum, think again. Catastrophe can turn a comfortable life inside out and leave any one of us stranded, dependent on the kindness of strangers, or vulnerable to their cruelty.

Set in a mining town in the Australian outback, Nights in the Asylum is the story of three people seeking shelter. Stricken with grief and guilt following the death of her daughter, Miri flees the city for the quiet calm of Havana Gardens, a once fine but now dilapidated mansion built for her grandmother. On the road she rescues Aziz, an Afghan refugee on the run from detention; then, in the attic of the old house, Miri discovers Suzette Moran and her baby daugher hiding, and grants them refuge.

Slowly, in the hot confined spaces of the house, the three runaways unravel their stories, but when Suzette's policeman husband comes looking for her, it sparks a chain of events that will disrupt their already fragile peace.

Nights In The Asylum UK hardback edition cover
Nights in the Asylum
UK hardback edition


Nights in the Asylum was shortlisted for the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for best first book. It was the winner of the 2008 Nita B. Kibble Literary Award for Women Writers, and the 2009 People's Choice Award.


Nights in the Asylum Vintage - Random House, Australia on 2nd April 2007, and in hardback by Picador, UK on 18th May 2007. The paperback edition was available in the UK from the 1st May 2008.


"Lefevre writes beautiful, smooth sentences that at times reminded me of (Michael) Ondaatje's. She lays out her narrative, too, with similar tranquillity and poise." Delia Falconer Australian Literary Review

A tale about home, loss, survival and what asylum - in all its forms - really means. Lefevre's debut novel succeeds in getting right under your skin Helen Chappell Tribune

"Nights in the Asylum is subtle, rich, wise and seductive. ... it's a gorgeous act of defiance to those who say literary fiction is in trouble." Nicholas Jose

"Nights in the Asylum is an interesting and accomplished book, far from didactic in its portrayal of mistreated refugees, or domestic violence, Aziz's and Zett's stories create a powerful undertow beneath and alongside Miri's grief." Dorothy Johnston Canberra Times

"The stories spin out in broken form, like a handful of photographs splayed on a between these narratives are snapshots of other people's lives, tiny bright moments of existence that illuminate the.major tales and cast shadows in the corners of the stories we are following." Kay Sexton

" ...this is an important Australian novel which addresses the contemporary dilemma of the asylum seeker. The novel comes at a time when the refugee issue is transforming from one of general apathy towards 'queue-jumpers' around the time of the SIEV X (click here to vist the SIEVX website) to a burgeoning collective empathy (perhaps guilt) towards refugees genuinely seeking asylum in this country." Rob Walker compulsive