Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Review: "Wanting" Richard Flanagan

From the Publisher's Website:

"From the author of the bestselling Gould’s Book of Fish, The Sound of One Hand Clapping and The Unknown Terrorist comes a haunting meditation on love, loss and the way life is finally determined never by reason, but only ever by wanting.

In 19th-century Van Diemen’s Land, a young Aboriginal girl, Mathinna, is adopted by the celebrated explorer Sir John Franklin and his wife, Lady Jane, to show that the savage can be civilized. Lady Jane believes the distance between savagery and civilization is the learned capacity to control wanting. The experiment fails, and Sir John disappears into the blue ice of the Arctic, seeking the Northwest Passage. A decade later, Lady Jane enlists Charles Dickens’ aid to put an end to the scandalous suggestions that Sir John’s expedition ended in cannibalism.

Wanting confirms Richard Flanagan’s growing reputation as one of our most original and powerful novelists."

My Review:

"Wanting" was well-written yet failed to resonate with me personally. I got what Flanigan was trying to say: giving into desire can lead to nothing good, therefore supressing said desires will lead to a civilized exisentence, but it failed to strike a chord with me. I suppose that this could be because I'm constantly supressing my own desires in order to live a more ordered life: I don't shop when I want to, I do housework and go to work even when I don't feel like it, I put the needs of my family ahead of my own. I found myself reading through the book and thinking "So what? Tell me something I don't know!"

Regardless, the subject matter was interesting, made even more so when I discovered that this story was very loosely based on actual people and events. This would be an interesting read for any history buff and the story is executed with a skilled hand. You can browse inside this book for a taste of what it has to offer.

Thanks to Deanna at Harper Collins Canada for the review copy!

1 comment:

  1. A little late leaving this comment, but great review. This book sounds like something I could probably find interesting. thanks again.