Monday, June 8, 2009

Shout out to Richard Flanagan!

Sooner or later, you knew I would get around to reading "Wanting," an acclaimed novel set partly in Tasmania, and featuring my old familiar friends Jane Franklin, John Franklin, Charles Dickens and Mathinna, the aboriginal girl Jane adopted. It's a wonderful work but in case you think me biased . . . .
A Los Angeles Times reviewer wrote that in "Wanting," author Richard Flanagan has written an exquisite, profoundly moving, intricately structured meditation about the desire for human connection in its many forms." The Sun-Herald affirms that the novel moves "seamlessly through time, across two continents and between three story-lines," while remaining "a marvel of precision and cohesion." And the Sydney Morning Herald writer declared flatly: “This is the best novel I have read this year or expect to read for several more.”
Flanagan's novels have been published in more than two dozen countries, and from this one, you can see why.
OK, so the biggest treat for me came later at www.richardflanaganwanting.com.au, where in his background notes, the author writes: "Ken McGoogan's Fatal Passage (2001) and Lady Franklin's Revenge (2006) alerted me to the unusual story of Dr. John Rae and the complex achievement of Lady Jane Franklin."
It's a simple thing to do, acknowledge your sources, but you'd be amazed at how often creators prove unable to muster the requisite grace. So: hats off to Richard Flanagan. And check out this fine novel.

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