Ramona Koval's parents were Holocaust survivors who fled their homeland and settled in Melbourne. As a child, Koval learned little about their lives - only snippets from traumatic tales of destruction and escape. But she always suspected that the man who raised her was not her biological father.
One day in the 1990s, long after her mother's death, she decides she must know the truth. A phone call leads to a photograph in the mail, then tea with strangers. Before long Koval is interrogating a nursing-home patient, meeting a horse whisperer in tropical Queensland, journeying to rural Poland, learning other languages and dealing with Kafkaesque bureaucracy, all in the hope of finding an answer.
A quest for identity recounted with Koval's customary humour, Bloodhound takes hold of the reader and never lets go. It is a moving story of the terrible cost of war and of family secrets.
Ramona Koval is a Melbourne writer, journalist, broadcaster and editor. From 2006 to 2011 she presented Radio National's Book Show, and she has written for Age and the Australian. She is the author of By the Book: A Reader's Guide to Life, and Bloodhound: Searching For My Father.
'The line of questioning to which she subjects herself reminds me less of her gracious interviews and more of Helen Garner's steady self-analysis...In Bloodhound, Koval is hunter and prey to truths that taunt and console.' Australian
'She's a shining presence in the world of literature, here in Australia and right across the globe...Her voice is always recognisable, invigorating, familiar to us and greatly loved.' Helen Garner
'Irresistible...generous, warm and fearless.' Kerryn Goldsworthy
'Her [Koval] accessibly written forays into the science of DNA and familial lineages, and what makes us who we are, is beautifully intertwined with her meditations on identity and belonging...Readers too will be deeply shocked by the atrocities outlined in Bloodhound. Such shock, however, is an important reminder that history should never be forgotten, and that books like Bloodhound should continue being written for generations to come.' Books & Publishing
'Written in the same jaunty, crisp but personal voice that made her so beloved as a broadcaster.' Booktopia Buzz
'Koval has penned a moving story of her quest for identity amid family secrets.' Australian Jewish News
'Bloodhound is at its most gripping when it explicitly pits the child's prerogative to know her origins against everybody else's right to forget or remain forever ignorant...By book's end Koval has, in effect, synthesised and absorbed these stories into one story, her story, such that she claims an ownership of and a place in them that was, for this reader at least, fascinating but also somewhat disquieting.' Sydney Morning Herald
'Koval follows a fascinating scent. She makes us complicit in her pursuit of the past, as she tries to answer "what am I?"...This is a story which will resonate.' Southland Times