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|Format:||Hardback, 272 pages|
|Published In: ||Australia, 03 November 2008|
It is 1839. A young Aboriginal girl, Mathinna, is running through the long wet grass of an island at the end of the world to get help for her dying father, an Aboriginal chieftain. Twenty years later, on an island at the centre of the world, the most famous novelist of the day, Charles Dickens, realises he is about to abandon his wife, risk his name, and forever after be altered because of his inability any longer to control his intense passion. Connecting the two events are the most celebrated explorer of the age, Sir John Franklin - then governor of Van Diemen's Land - and his wife, Lady Jane, who adopt Mathinna, seen as one of the last of a dying race, as an experiment. Lady Jane believes the distance between savagery and civilisation is the learned capacity to control wanting. The experiment fails, Sir John disappears into the blue ice of the Arctic seeking the North-West Passage, and a decade later Lady Jane enlists Dickens' aid to put an end to the scandalous suggestions that Sir John's expedition ended in cannibalism. Dickens becomes ever more entranced in the story of men entombed in ice, recognising in its terrible image his own frozen inner life. He produces and stars in a play inspired by Franklin's fate to give story to his central belief: that discipline and will can conquer desire. And yet the play will bring him to the point where he is finally no longer able to control his own passion and the consequences it brings. Based on historic events, Wanting is a novel about art, love, and the way in which life is finally determined never by reason, but only ever by wanting.
About the Author
Richard Flanagan was born in Tasmania in 1961. Regarded internationally as one of Australia's pre-eminent novelists, his multi-award winning novels, DEATH OF A RIVER GUIDE, THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING, GOULD'S BOOK OF FISH and THE UNKNOWN TERRORIST have been published to popular success and critical acclaim in twenty-five countries. He directed a feature film version of THE SOUND OF ONE HAND CLAPPING and most recently collaborated with Baz Luhrmann on the script for Luhrmann's forthcoming epic, AUSTRALIA. He lives in Hobart with his family.
Flanagan follows The Unknown Terrorist with an intricate exploration of civility and savagery that hinges on two famous 19th-century Englishmen: Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin and Charles Dickens. In 1839 Tasmania, a tribe of Aboriginals are in the Van Diemen's Land penal colony, soon to be governed by Franklin and his wife, Lady Jane. The Franklins adopt a native girl, Mathinna, whom Lady Jane hopes to use as proof that civility lies in all human beings, even savages. Years later, in 1854 London, Lady Jane asks Charles Dickens to help defend her late husband's honor from accusations of cannibalism. Dickens, devastated by his daughter's death from pneumonia, publishes a defense of Franklin's honor, then develops a stage adaptation of Franklin's demise that forces the writer to face his suffering and introduces him to a comely young actress. The interlaced stories focus on conquering the yearning that exists both in the Aboriginals and the noble English gentlemen, and though Flanagan has a tendency to hammer home his ideas, his prose is strong and precise, and the depiction of desire's effects is sublime. (Apr.) Copyright 2008 Reed Business Information.
The latest novel from acclaimed Australian author Flanagan (Gould's Book of Fish; The Unknown Terrorist) is a meditation on the power of desire to transform lives. In an isolated Australian penal colony in the 1840s, an Aboriginal girl named Mathinna is adopted by the English governor, celebrated Arctic explorer Sir John Franklin, and his wife, Lady Jane. Devastated by her inability to bear a child, Lady Jane longs to coddle Mathinna but instead sets her on a rigid course of "improvement." Their thwarted relationship and Mathinna's subsequent emotional devastation form the aching core of the novel. A decade later, as Sir John and his crew slowly starve to death after an Arctic shipwreck, a London writer named Charles Dickens finds himself haunted by the story of the failed expedition. This obsession becomes The Frozen Deep, a play through which Dickens seeks to redeem his own emptiness. As always, Flanagan's prose is beautifully crafted, at once elegant and astonishing. This is Flanagan's most accessible work to date, and it should draw new fans. Highly recommended. [See Prepub Alert, LJ 1/09; for a very different take on Charles Dickens, see Matthew Pearl's The Last Dickens, reviewed on p. 96.-Ed.]-Kelsy Peterson, Johnson Cty. Community Coll. Lib., Overland Park, KS Copyright 2009 Reed Business Information.
|Publisher: ||Knopf Australia|
|Dimensions: ||21.0 x 15.0 x 2.0 centimeters (0.48 kg)|