In Search of the Blue Tiger


ISBN: 9781921924163 Format: Trade paperback 336pp Rights: All rights: Transit Lounge Release / Publication Date: 01 /03 /2012

This project has been assisted by the Australian government through the Australia Council for the Arts, its arts funding and advisory body.


‘This is a marvellously surprising and rewarding work. By turns precociously clever and darkly disturbing, 11 year old Oscar Flower’s quest for the mythical blue tiger takes the reader on a transformative journey that challenges one’s expectations.’
Liam Davison, author of The White Woman and The Betrayal.

Eleven year old Oscar Flowers is on a quest to make sense of the strange world of adults that surrounds him in the seaside town of Tidetown. The bizarre behaviour of his parents and great aunt impels him to search for the blue tiger, a powerful and beautiful animal that will save his family from themselves. Mrs April, the town’s librarian, helps Oscar in his pursuit of knowledge and generously shares her great love of books with him. A deep and wondrous friendship develops. Yet as Oscar falls under the influence of his peers, the fishmonger’s peculiar twin daughters, Perch and Carp, he becomes embroiled in a dark crime of vengeance with seemingly disastrous consequences.

Hugely positive and an imaginative tour de force In Search of the Blue Tiger is at once a celebration of books and reading, an affecting love story between a widowed town librarian and a lonely troubled child and a gripping testament to the way that any of us can move beyond the mistakes of our past to a new beginning.
Shortlisted for the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards

Robert Power is the author of In Search of the Blue Tiger, The Swan Song of Doctor Malloy and Meatloaf in Manhattan.

He has worked in HIV prevention for many years, travelling to all continents and appearing in all media, both here and abroad.

Born in Dublin, Robert now lives in Melbourne, Australia, with his wife and his youngest son.


Psychologically astute, original and whimsical, the novel creates a memorable protagonist and sees him set sail, eventually, powered by dreams and resilience. Fantasy and a quest for alternative worlds are symptomatic of trauma, but also, ultimately, the means of Oscar’s self-made redemption.’ 

Felicity Plunkett, Canberra Times 17 March 2012

Robert Power’s debut novel In Search of the Blue Tiger was shortlisted for the unpublished manuscript category of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards in 2008. Early promise has germinated into a significant work which perhaps falls between Life of Pi, Under Milk Wood and Gus Kuiijer’s disturbing children’s novel, The Book of Everything. 

Oscar Flower’s childhood is distorted by his parents’ violent fights. He believes that they are animals in human form, were-animals, and finds consolation in his literal and metaphorical search for the blue tiger, which will enable him to become fearless and powerful. His quest leads him to the library where a special friendship develops with the sympathetic Mrs April. He also becomes the focus of insular twins, Perch and Carp 

Fishcutter, who embroil in him in their Jehovah’s Witness cult of Armageddon and sacrifice. Other surreal experiences seem to be inspired by theosophy or mysticism. The narrative belies recent criticisms of literary fiction as being plotless. Oscar is swept into a compelling journey, relayed in part by his scrapbook of tiger legends and facts. The writing is subtle, connotative and composed. Its craftsmanship embraces and extends this audacious depiction of an escape from childhood.

Joy Lawn, Bookseller and Publisher, Summer 2011/12

This dark and beautiful tale, told with a light touch, stayed in my mind long after I’d finished. 

Claire Kennedy, Herald Sun 12 March 2012

As a witness to domestic violence, adultery and even murder, Oscar’s impressionistic image of the world is tainted at such a tender age but Power leavens the darkness of his novel by at times adopting a fabulist, almost cartoonish tone. For instance, he has a bit of fun with the names of the towns-people; the neighbourhood includes Miss Shorthand, Mrs Teachwell, Judge Omega, Father Saviour and Mrs Butcherhook. Written from the perspective of a child, In Search of the Blue Tiger is a strange, whimsical book about a boy desperate to make sense of a world where adults habitually lie.’

Thuy On, The Saturday Age, March 31

This debut novel was shortlisted for the manuscript section of the Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards. Oscar lives in a town with his drunk, violent parents, and escapes into his imagination. A librarian helps him find books and he develops a crush on her. In this novel, parents sow what they reap from their children, with play-acting turning real, and murderous. Blue Tiger is dreamy, rich with observation and fine writing.

Lucy Sussex, The Sunday Age, April 22