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y separately published work icon Wanting single work   novel   historical fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2008... 2008 Wanting
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AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'It is 1839. A young Aboriginal girl, Mathinna, is running through the long wet grass of an island at the end of the world to get help for her dying father, an Aboriginal chieftain. Twenty years later, on an island at the centre of the world, the most famous novelist of the day, Charles Dickens, realises he is about to abandon his wife, risk his name, and forever after be altered because of his inability any longer to control his intense passion.

Connecting the two events are the most celebrated explorer of the age, Sir John Franklin - then governor of Van Diemen's Land - and his wife, Lady Jane, who adopt Mathinna, seen as one of the last of a dying race, as an experiment. Lady Jane believes the distance between savagery and civilisation is the learned capacity to control wanting. The experiment fails, the Franklins throw the child onto the streets and into a life of prostitution and alcoholism. A few years later Mathinna is found dead in a puddle. She is nineteen years old. By then Sir John too is dead, lost in the blue ice of the Arctic seeking the North West Passage. A decade later evidence emerges that in its final agony, Franklin's expedition resorted to the level and practice of savages: cannibalism. Lady Jane enlists Dickens's aid to put an end to such scandalous suggestions.

Dickens becomes ever more entranced in the story of men entombed in ice, recognising in its terrible image his own frozen inner life. He produces and stars in a play inspired by Franklin's fate to give story to his central belief: that discipline and will can conquer desire. And yet the play will bring him to the point where he is finally no longer able to control his own wanting and the consequences it brings.

Based on historic events, Wanting is a novel about art, love, and the way in which life is finally determined never by reason, but only ever by wanting.' (Provided by publisher.)

Notes

  • Dedication: For Kevin Perkins.
  • Epigraph: You see, reason, gentlemen, is a fine thing, that is unquestionable, but reason is only reason and satisfies only man's reasoning capacity, while wanting is a manifestation of the whole of life. - Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Epigraph: That which is wanting cannot be numbered. - Ecclesiates
  • Promotional DVD of the same title contains: Behind the pages - Richard Flanagan and Wanting; Promotional trailer; Reading group questions; Image library; Author biography

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • North Sydney, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Knopf Australia , 2008 .
      image of person or book cover 4323580397427605742.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 256p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Publication date: 3 November 2008.
      ISBN: 9781741666557
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Atlantic Monthly Press ,
      ca. 2008 .
      image of person or book cover 5221555465514211803.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 256p.
      Edition info: 1st US ed.
      ISBN: 9780802119001
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Atlantic Books ,
      2009 .
      image of person or book cover 928452578537861428.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 256p.
      ISBN: 9781848870710 184887071X (hbk)
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Atlantic Books ,
      2010 .
      image of person or book cover 296947355545641803.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 252p.
      ISBN: 1848870779 9781848870772 (pbk)
    • North Sydney, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Vintage Books , 2012 .
      image of person or book cover 139790697305278201.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 252 p.p.
      Reprinted: 2015
      ISBN: 9781742755120 (pbk), 9781742755120
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Vintage ,
      2016 .
      image of person or book cover 1591645327952976947.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 252 p.p.
      ISBN: 9781784702922, 1784702927, 9781473524286 (ebook)
    • North Sydney, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Penguin Books , 2018 .
      image of person or book cover 6842648308644883186.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 272 p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 19 March 2018.

      ISBN: 9780143790792 (pbk)
Language: German
    • Zurich,
      c
      Switzerland,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Atrium ,
      2009 .
      image of person or book cover 4188432906456740491.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Alternative title: Mathinna
      Extent: 302p.
      ISBN: 9783855351350 385535135X
    • Berlin,
      c
      Germany,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Insel ,
      2011 .
      image of person or book cover 7507325907749982629.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Alternative title: Begehren
      Extent: 302p.
      ISBN: 9783458357124
    • Munich,
      c
      Germany,
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Piper ,
      2018 .
      image of person or book cover 517609047557566899.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 304 p.p.
      ISBN: 9783492308403

Other Formats

  • Sound recording.
  • Braille.
  • Large print.

Works about this Work

Fictionalisation in Biography : Creating the Dickens Myth Rosemary Kay , 2019 single work criticism
— Appears in: Life Writing , March vol. 16 no. 2 2019; (p. 195-212)

'‘Dickens’ is a universal, global commodity. Our contemporary cultural memorialisation of the celebrity-author relies less on historical facts and more on the overlay of reductive and selective renditions created in texts such as biographies or biofictions. Harnessing both creative and academic directives of research, and drawing on my insights from my praxis of writing a neo-Victorian biographical novel, this article interrogates three representations of Dickens, placing my own rendition within the field of biographical/biofictional conceptualisations of the Victorian author.' (Publication abstract)

Richard Flanagan's and Alexis Wright's Magic Nihilism Jamie Derkenne , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 31 no. 2 2017; (p. 276-290, 458)

'Whether it be Sir John Franklin confronting a "sense of his own horror" while hallucinating and dying in Flanagan's Wanting (177), Oblivia, mute and with no agency, possessed only of memories that Bella Donna "has chosen to tell her" in Wright's Swan Book (89) and ending her days in a ghost swamp (334), or Aljaz Cosini finding himself in a "gorge of death" because he has ignored the "language" of the landscape in Flanagan's Death of a River Guide (296-97), both authors write of an erosion of being and purpose, often using landscape and the history inscribed on that landscape to describe existential crisis. Magic realism, even its constituent words, has little relation with what Franz Roh proposed in his seminal 1925 essay on a new form of painting: the term has not only shifted its main focus from one artistic endeavor to another but has often features of surrealism or what Roh (dismissively) called "Expressionism," a term he used to explicitly label Marc Chagall's modernist work, characterized as including animals walking in the sky, heads "popped like corks," "chromatic storms," and distortions of perspective (Faris 17). Wright's dream of a common spirituality of reconciliation, also expressed in interview, also has resonances with Fuentes's belief (33) that all Mexicans need to recognize that Indians are intrinsically part of their culture, their identity and heritage, and must therefore work to ensure justice for that population. [...]the invading colonial culture was initially penal, brutalizing, and authoritative and indeed sought to make the entire landscape an unescapable and perfect prison.' (Publication abstract)

First Voices : Visiting Wybalenna Cameron Hindrum , 2015 single work prose
— Appears in: Island , no. 142 2015; (p. 60-62)
Richard Flanagan, a Bright Star Rising from Australian Literary World Li Yao , 2015 single work criticism
— Appears in: Oceanic Literary Studies , no. 2 2015; (p. 215-219)
'Being unfamiliar to most Chinese readers, Richard Flanagan is one of the most accomplished and distinctive writers in Australia in recent twenty years. Representing growing diversification of multiculturalism in Australia, all his works, from Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping and Gould's Book of Fish : A Novel in Twelve Fish to The Unknown Terrorist, Wanting and The Narrow Road to the Deep North, are miraculous flowers bursting into bloom in the fertile soil of life, in which there is a conciliation of post-modernism and realism in creation, characterized by strong self-consciousness and magnificent realistic features. Some critics argue Flanagan reminds them of such masters as Whitman, Joyce, Faulkner and Garcia Marquez etc. As the laureat of the 2014 Man Booker Prize for English literature, Richard Flanagan is a bright star rising high from Tasmania, Australia.' (215-216)
Communicating the Incommunicable Kirsten Krauth , 2015 single work column
— Appears in: Australian Author , June vol. 47 no. 1 2015; (p. 14-17)
Untitled Lachlan Jobbins , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: Bookseller + Publisher Magazine , October vol. 88 no. 4 2008; (p. 36)

— Review of Wanting Richard Flanagan , 2008 single work novel
Rewriting the Past Katharine England , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Advertiser , 8 November 2008; (p. 12)

— Review of Wanting Richard Flanagan , 2008 single work novel ; Ice Louis Nowra , 2008 single work novel
Book of the Week Stephanie Trigg , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Sunday Age , 9 November 2008; (p. 26)

— Review of Wanting Richard Flanagan , 2008 single work novel
Dark Heart of Desire Don Anderson , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 8-9 November 2008; (p. 10)

— Review of Wanting Richard Flanagan , 2008 single work novel
Crucible for Happenings Geordie Williamson , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , November no. 306 2008; (p. 11-12)

— Review of Wanting Richard Flanagan , 2008 single work novel
The Price of Desire Diane Stubbings , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 25 October 2008; (p. 11)
Flanagan's Book of Desire Jason Steger , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Age , 1 November 2008; (p. 26-27) The Sydney Morning Herald , 8-9 November 2008; (p. 26-27)
Looking for Everyday Miracles Bron Sibree , 2008 single work column
— Appears in: The Canberra Times , 8 November 2008; (p. 4-5)
The Legend of Passion and Pulp Bron Sibree , 2008 single work review
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 8 - 9 November 2008; (p. 24-25)
Looking beyond the Frame Lachlan Jobbins (interviewer), 2008 single work interview
— Appears in: Bookseller + Publisher Magazine , October vol. 88 no. 4 2008; (p. 43)
Last amended 20 Dec 2019 14:36:48
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