Richard Flanagan Watch #1

Reviews of Wanting

Don Anderson in "The Australian".

Without doubt a main subject of Wanting is what its author calls the "catastrophe of colonialism". Notions of the "savage", the "other", warp all sorts of notions and arguments. Thus, one-third into the novel, a propos allegations of Franklin's crew's cannibalism, Dickens asserts: "We all have appetites and desires. But only the savage agrees to sate them with all the attendant horrors that ensue." Almost at the novel's end, however, Dickens, his cheek pressed on stage against Ellen's "uncorsetted belly", notes that "he, a man who had spent a life believing that giving in to desire was the mark of a savage, realised that he could no longer deny wanting".
Short Notices

Boomerang Books: "Flanagan treads a fine line. He doesn't imply that the British were all cruel, or that the Aborigines were entirely victims or 'noble savages'. There is a spectrum of perspectives, from the brutal to the misguided-and even the supportive. It must be difficult to write a novel like this without judging, excusing or idealising."
Readings: "Wanting is a powerful piece of writing that affects in many ways. Above all, it's about unbridled desire and its tragic consequences."

Video clips relating to the novel

Book trailer
Interview: Part 1 - What led you to write WANTING?
Interview: Part 2 - Who are the main characters in WANTING?
Interview: Part 3 - What would you consider to be the themes of WANTING?
Interview: Part 4 - How are the lives of Charles Dickens and Mathinna connected?
Interview: Part 5 - There are fictional and historical characters in the story. How much licence did you take with the facts?
Interview: Part 6 - How different was it writing the script for Baz Luhrmann.


I've previously linked to this interview with the author by Jason Steger, which was published in "The Age" at the start of November.
Flanagan is also interviewed in "The Mercury" by Simon Bevilacqua.


The publisher has created a webpage for the novel which includes details of the book as well as where Flanagan is appearing this week in Adelaide, Melbourne and Brisbane.


Flanagan has received a writing credit on the new Baz Luhrmann film Australia, and "The Weekend Australian" magazine provides some details about how the collaboration came about.
In a piece in "The West Australian", Flanagan reveals the real-life inspiration for the character played by Hugh Jackman in the film.
The author was featured recently on ABC TV's "Australian Story". You can still watch that program on the show's website.
And related to that television program is a report from "The Mercury" newspaper detailing some comments Flanagan made about retired Tasmanian premier Paul Lennon.

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This page contains a single entry by Perry Middlemiss published on November 10, 2008 10:49 AM.

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