Beta
X

15Oct

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan review – a wrenching response to a devastated world

In this magical realist tale, Flanagan’s extinction metaphor is not subtle – but the fiction of the Anthropocene can’t afford to be

Richard Flanagan has described his eighth novel – a magical realist tale of ecological anguish – as “a rising scream”. The Living Sea of Waking Dreams combines the moral righteousness of a fable, the wounded grief of a eulogy, and the fury of someone who still reads the news. And smouldering underneath it all is the red memory of last summer’s reign of fire.

When 87-year-old Francie is admitted to a Hobart hospital with a brain bleed, her children assemble at her bedside: there’s rockstar architect Anna, trawling Instagram while the doctors prognosticate; unyielding Terzo, a wealth manager with an iron-clad sense of certainty; and failed artist Tommy, the sibling punching bag (“that most bourgeois of embarrassments: the lower class relative”). Death is waiting in the wings, and there are decisions to be made.

Continue reading...

Related

The Candy House by Jennifer Egan review – new tech, old wounds

This companion novel to A Visit from the Goon Squad, in which memories are uploaded and shared, expl...

Read More >

The Great Mistake by Jonathan Lee review – the man who shaped New York

Blunders, bad luck and ever-yearning love in a novel about the extraordinary life and death of an un...

Read More >

Painting Time by Maylis de Kerangal review – a bravura achievement

A celebration of the art of trompe-l’œil confirms this French prize winner as one of our most gift...

Read More >

Angela O’Keeffe on Jackson Pollock’s Blue Poles – and engaging with the art of awful men

The writer’s ingenious debut Night Blue is narrated by Australia’s most infamous and triumphant ca...

Read More >

Leave the World Behind by Rumaan Alam review – an X-ray of America

This page-turning thriller about class and race in the midst of unfolding catastrophe explores stasi...

Read More >

Strange Flowers by Donal Ryan review – a compassionate tale of homecoming

Five years after she went missing, a woman returns to rural Tipperary in a novel that explores all f...

Read More >