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Original Essays | September 15, 2014

Lois Leveen: IMG Forsooth Me Not: Shakespeare, Juliet, Her Nurse, and a Novel



There's this writer, William Shakespeare. Perhaps you've heard of him. He wrote this play, Romeo and Juliet. Maybe you've heard of it as well. It's... Continue »
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Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish

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Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish Cover

ISBN13: 9780802117113
ISBN10: 0802117112
Condition: Standard
Dustjacket: Standard
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Synopses & Reviews

Publisher Comments:

Published in hardcover to outstanding acclaim on both sides of the Atlantic, and winner of the prestigious Commonwealth Writers Prize, Gould's Book of Fish is a marvelously imagined epic of nineteenth-century Australia — a world of convicts and colonists, thieves and catamites, whose bloody history is recorded in a very unusual taxonomy of fish. Widely hailed as a masterpiece and a work of genius, it stands out as one of the best novels of recent years.

Billy Gould was a forger and thief sentenced to life imprisonment in a penal colony in Van Diemen's Land — now Tasmania. After six months he escaped and boarded a whaler for the Americas, but before long his adventures landed him back in prison. The prison doctor Lempriere utilizes Gould's painting talents to create an illustrated taxonomy of the country's exotic sea creatures, which Lempriere madly believes will assure his place in history and the Royal Society. Lost and re-created, destroyed and hidden, Gould's book finally resurfaces in the present day littered with scrawls recording his unutterably strange life — part freewheeling picaresque, part tragicomedy — and that of his country, a penal colony, settlement, and magical space populated by generals, visionaries, and madmen.

Gould's Book of Fish is a tour de force that questions the reliability of history and science, and the substance of artistic creation. Michiko Kakutani of The New York Times called it a huge, phantasmagorical work that combines magical realism, Joycean language, and Melvillian intonations to examine the legacy of colonialism through the story of a nineteenth-century forger. . . . [It] turns out to be as inventive and visionary in its reimagination ofhistory as [Toni] Morrison's masterwork, Beloved.

Review:

"Flanagan's darkly humorous tale is impressive in its ability to cross seamlessly the borders between the realistic and fantastic and carries a wonderful sense of drama and satisfying closure. The unique story is accompanied by the book's novel packaging." Library Journal

Review:

"[G]orgeously written....Readers will be...entranced with this richly detailed work that calls attention to a major new talent." Brendan Dowling, Booklist (starred review)

Review:

"Carefully crafted and allusive, this blazing portrait of Australia's colonial past will surely spread Flanagan's reputation among American readers." Publishers Weekly

Review:

"[A] huge, phantasmagorical work that combines magical realism, Joycean language and Melvillian intonations...and turns out to be as inventive and visionary in its reimagination of history as [Toni] Morrison's masterwork, Beloved." Michiko Kakutani, The New York Times

What Our Readers Are Saying

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Average customer rating based on 1 comment:

omjess, June 21, 2012 (view all comments by omjess)
I fold over corners of pages. When a passage inspires, provokes, moves me, I fold over a corner. After reading Gould's Book of Fish there were dozens of folded corners in my copy. First of all, buy the hardcover, simply because you will have the full effect of the lovely paintings and appropriately colored text for each section. This is as much a part of the novel as the words themselves. Secondly, take your time. This is a somewhat dense tale filled with many characters. You will want to absorb each completely. Finally, a bit about the story itself - this is a love story told in perhaps one of the most horrific and simultaneously beautiful manners one has ever been presented. Richard Flanagan courageously weaves an historical web of the truths, legends and lies born in an Australian penal colony in the mind of one who lived it and was transformed by it. Not for the faint of heart, the details are often gruesome. In fact, I chose this as a book club selection and loved every bit of it. Some members had a hard time getting through it. If you prefer a dense, exciting novel with elegant writing and unapologetic imagery, this one's for you.
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Product Details

ISBN:
9780802117113
Subtitle:
A Novel in Twelve Fish
Author:
Flanagan, Richard
Publisher:
Libri
Location:
New York
Subject:
General
Subject:
Historical - General
Subject:
Australia
Subject:
Painters
Subject:
Prisoners
Subject:
Penal colonies
Subject:
Biographical fiction
Subject:
Prisoners as artists.
Subject:
Fishes in art.
Subject:
Marine animals in art.
Copyright:
Edition Number:
1st American ed.
Edition Description:
American
Series Volume:
107-129
Publication Date:
April 1, 2002
Binding:
Hardcover
Language:
English
Illustrations:
Yes
Pages:
416
Dimensions:
9.28x5.62x1.25 in. 1.58 lbs.

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Related Subjects

Fiction and Poetry » Literature » A to Z

Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish Used Hardcover
0 stars - 0 reviews
$8.50 In Stock
Product details 416 pages Grove Press - English 9780802117113 Reviews:
"Review" by , "Flanagan's darkly humorous tale is impressive in its ability to cross seamlessly the borders between the realistic and fantastic and carries a wonderful sense of drama and satisfying closure. The unique story is accompanied by the book's novel packaging."
"Review" by , "[G]orgeously written....Readers will be...entranced with this richly detailed work that calls attention to a major new talent."
"Review" by , "Carefully crafted and allusive, this blazing portrait of Australia's colonial past will surely spread Flanagan's reputation among American readers."
"Review" by , "[A] huge, phantasmagorical work that combines magical realism, Joycean language and Melvillian intonations...and turns out to be as inventive and visionary in its reimagination of history as [Toni] Morrison's masterwork, Beloved."
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