Wanting by Richard Flanagan
A Novel

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Synopsis

Internationally acclaimed and profoundly moving, Richard Flanagan’s Wanting is a stunning tale of colonialism, ambition, and the lusts and longings that make us human. Now in paperback, it links two icons of Western civilization through a legendarily disastrous arctic exploration, and one of the most infamous episodes in human history: the colonization of Tasmania.
In 1841, Sir John Franklin and his wife, Lady Jane, move to the remote penal colony of Van Diemen’s Land, now Tasmania. There Lady Jane falls in love with a lively aboriginal girl, Mathinna, whom she adopts and makes the subject of a grand experiment in civilization—one that will determine whether science, Christianity, and reason can be imposed in the place of savagery, impulse, and desire.
A quarter of a century passes. Sir John Franklin disappears in the Arctic with his crew and two ships on an expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage. England is horrified by reports of cannibalism filtering back from search parties, no one more so than the most celebrated novelist of the day, Charles Dickens. As Franklin’s story becomes a means to plumb the frozen depths of his own life, Dickens finds a young actress thawing his heart.
 

About Richard Flanagan

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RICHARD FLANAGAN was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961. His novels--Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping and Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish (winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize for Overall Best Book)--have been published in 26 countries. He also directed the feature film of The Sound of One Hand Clapping and most recently collaborated with director Baz Luhrmann (Moulin Rouge) on the screenplay of Luhrmann's forthcoming epic, Australia.
 
Published June 8, 2010 by Grove Press. 273 pages
Genres: History, Literature & Fiction, War. Fiction

Unrated Critic Reviews for Wanting

The New York Times

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A historical novel about a young aborigine girl adopted and later abandoned by a 19th century governor of Van Diemen’s Land, now known as Tasmania.

May 22 2009 | Read Full Review of Wanting: A Novel

The New York Times

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The strands of this nuanced historical novel involve a Dickensian orphan in Tasmania and Charles Dickens himself at a fraught midlife turning point.

Jun 28 2009 | Read Full Review of Wanting: A Novel

The Guardian

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One of the triumphs of Flanagan's handling of this material, as indeed with the Robinson story, is that he has done it with flair and originality against a backdrop of other hands in both fictional and non-fictional narrative: Robert Drewe, Matthew Kneale and Nicholas Shakespeare in the case of R...

Sep 25 2009 | Read Full Review of Wanting: A Novel

BC Books

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(222) Though the villains and victims are fairly clear, with outrage towards the obvious villains never far from the surface, it is Flanagan’s great art that the reader both understands and feels the pain of Dickens, Sir John, the Protector, and Lady Jane: She wished to rush down to the filthy ...

Dec 23 2008 | Read Full Review of Wanting: A Novel

Oregon Live

Thesis for debate in a pub: One hallmark of a fine novelist is his or her unwillingness to write novels of the same stripe;

May 15 2009 | Read Full Review of Wanting: A Novel

MostlyFiction Book Reviews

Famed explorer Sir John Franklin and his wife Jane, who represent the Crown in Van Dieman’s Land, share the stage with aborigine King Romeo, his wild and mysterious daughter Mathinna, an assortment of local workers and tradesmen, and eventually, with Charles Dickens, Wilkie Collins, and even, on ...

May 05 2009 | Read Full Review of Wanting: A Novel

The Bookbag

For another look at our great writer try The Last Dickens by Matthew Pearl but for another, non-fiction look at how the Aboriginal community is treated, even fairly recently, have a look at The Tall Man: Life and Death on Palm Island by Chloe Hooper.

Mar 06 2010 | Read Full Review of Wanting: A Novel

Reader Rating for Wanting
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