Wanting Richard Franklin
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Okay - who's read it? I need to talk to someone about it. I ended up deeply depressed after reading it. But I do think it is a very important book and there are some stunning passages - particularly Dickens' wife's realisation of self....so very dark. I had to return it to the library but I would like to read it again. For those struggling with it - keep persisting ... I found it hard to engage with until about the middle. It does need your undivided attention. A deadline (ie having to return it to the library) helped but now I need to dissect it.
It is Wanting by Richard Flanagan
Worth checking out according to Merry10
Right - well I'll attempt a probably ham-fisted summary. You've got Dickens (as in Charles Dickens) mounting an amateur play of sorts to redeem the reputation of an Arctic explorer who's been missing for several years. Word has got around the traps that he and his crew may have resorted to cannibalism. The other half of the story is stepping back in time to the explorer's earlier life in Tasmania. His wife , unsuccessful in the child-bearing stakes, has focussed her efforts on advancing his career as governor and the business of civilizing the colony. They experiment with civilizing a native child Mathinna. That's the bones of the story. Of course it deals with much bigger themes - what is civilization? What have we done to ourselves and others in the process of civilization? Humans and our constant inability to communicate effectively with each other despite having all the "tools" at our fingertips - language, words. The ability of a writer to "know" others but not know himself. All very good stuff but rather sobering too.
Not sure I feel like reading anything that's likely to leave me feeling "deeply depressed" at the moment, alexdaw, but thanks for the plot summary. The book's now on my To Read list for library books.
Hope others who have read Wanting by Richard Flanagan share their opinions of the book with us all soon... Could be interesting.
I've read it recently.
I also found it a bit "difficult" at first, but when all the threads came together, it was a superb read. I can't say I was depressed after reading it. Certainly, it made me stop and consider for a while the plight of those who got in the way of the colonisers! And all those who are are used by others to make themselves more worthwhile.
But the theme underlying all of the storylines was that of wanting, and of desire. Does denying desire make you a stronger / better person? Does giving in to desire make you a weaker person, uncivilized?
I'd love to hear your thoughts . . .
Hmm, Judylou you have captured the fundamental teasing problem of this book. And I thought it was a good one to be reading around Christmas time. You are right - the underlying theme is about wanting/desire. Why did it leave me depressed I wonder? Is it having to acknowledge the constant frustration of being human? Of constantly being challenged by new desires/wants??? Ephemeral or otherwise. Christmas presents me with (what seems the often ridiculous challenge) of "wanting" to give and sometimes, I'm left "wanting" !!! Sticking to a budget. Finding just the right present. I loathe the shopping centres our age has spawned. Swiping the credit card. Feeling I should have made everything I give. But where is the time? Making some things but feeling they're not up to the mark - because they're rushed or I'm a klutz or I run out of the right coloured wool - as I say silly. But to answer your question - no I don't think denying desire makes you a stronger person - but perhaps its the way you deny it. Perhaps you need to acknowledge it (if only to yourself), acknowledge the possible consequences of acting on your desire and if you proceed accept the consequences.
And many apologies to Richard Flanagan for crediting the book to Richard Franklin - silly me!!! My mind has obviously turned to mush in the Christmas holidays. Thanks ozpierre for subtly putting people on the right path :)
No worries Alex
Perhaps this might interest you http://www.themonthly.com.au/tm/node/1331
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