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Book Title: Death of a River Guide|
The author of the book: Richard Flanagan
Edition: Atlantic Books
Date of issue: 2004
ISBN 13: 9781843542193
Format files: PDF
The size of the: 557 KB
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Reader ratings: 3.7
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Am I to live? Is my life to be saved? Am I finally to be made visible? Other people who nearly die go down a tunnel and see a great light at the end. But all I have seen are people, the whole lot of them, swirling, dirty, smelly, objectionable and ultimately lovable people, and, I think, if it is to be my misfortune to return into the lamentable physical vessel that has been my body, it is them – these people in the kitchens and office blocks and suburbs and pink leisure suits – that I must make my peace with.
Aljaz Cosini is the river guide in the title. He is drowning, although we don’t learn how he came to be underwater till near the end of this novel. As the river covers him, his life – and Australia’s history – swirls around him. Life is the cruellest of boxers, we are told.
One of the seductions of Goodreads is the ‘finds’ – an author or a book that we wouldn’t have known about but for our scramblings over the profiles of others, the reviews, the to-be-read lists. That is how I found Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish by this same author. I forget now whom to thank. But I loved that book enough to want to read the whole Richard Flanagan catalogue.
This, his debut, is not as good as Gould’s, yet it clearly shows the promise of enormous talent. There is inventiveness, though shifting from the third person to the first person in the same sentence is something he needs to get over. There is purpose, in the telling of history and the peeling of the individual soul. But there is also just some damn good storytelling. Moments like this one when Aljaz ‘sees’ his mother, Sonja, dressing for a first date with his father, Harry:
”A man that would lead you to go to so much trouble over yourself can only lead to trouble.” She admonished Sonja. But before she left she sprinkled the inside of the top and waist of the dress with ground cloves. And cackled, “Fruit is best eaten seasoned.” Never again would Harry be able to eat apple strudel without feeling the most terrible desire.”
I like that.
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Read information about the authorRichard Flanagan (born 1961) is an author, historian and film director from Tasmania, Australia. He was president of the Tasmania University Union and a Rhodes Scholar. Each of his novels has attracted major praise. His first, Death of a River Guide (1994), was short-listed for the Miles Franklin Award, as were his next two, The Sound of One Hand Clapping (1997) and Gould's Book of Fish (2001). His earlier, non-fiction titles include books about the Gordon River, student issues, and the story of conman John Friedrich.
Two of his novels are set on the West Coast of Tasmania; where he lived in the township of Rosebery as a child. Death of a River Guide relates to the Franklin River, Gould's Book of Fish to the Macquarie Harbour Penal Station, and The Sound of One Hand Clapping to the Hydro settlements in the Central Highlands of Tasmania.
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