Synopses & Reviews
Richard Flanagan's previous novels, including Gould's Book of Fish
, have been some of the most acclaimed and beloved works of fiction in recent years. He has been described as "a master of sleight of hand, adept at using words to conjure worlds, an indefatigable artist" by Michiko Kakutani in the New York Times
, and his new novel has been hotly anticipated by critics and readers alike. Now he delivers a mesmerizing thriller that demonstrates the breadth of his range and vision.
What would you do if you turned on the television and saw you were the most wanted terrorist in the country? Gina Davies is about to find out when, after a night spent with an attractive stranger, she becomes a prime suspect in the investigation of an attempted terrorist attack. Three unexploded bombs at a stadium, one attractive stranger now missing, and five days on the run, she witnesses every truth of her life twisted into a betrayal. The Unknown Terrorist is a relentless tour de force that paints a devastating picture of a contemporary society gone haywire, where the ceaseless drumbeat of terror alert levels, newsbreaks, and fear of the unknown pushes a nation ever closer to the breaking point.
In The Unknown Terrorist, one of the most brilliant writers working in the English language today turns his attention to the most timely of subjects what our leaders tell us about the threats against us, and how we cope with living in fear. It is an extraordinary achievement, chilling, impossible to put down, and all too familiar.
"A life quickly flames out in Flanagan's firebrand follow-up to 2002's acclaimed Gould's Book of Fish. Gina Davies, a 26-year-old nightclub pole dancer (referred to throughout as 'the Doll'), leads a provincial life in Sydney, Australia, spends $2,000 a month on clothes and is given to the occasional racist rant. But after a one-night stand with a man named Tariq, she turns on the TV and learns she's been pegged as the accomplice in an attempted terrorist attack on Sydney's Olympic stadium. She's instantly the most-wanted woman in Australia and the source of a raging tabloid media feeding frenzy led by sleazy TV journalist Richard Cody. The fast-paced narrative builds to a fittingly bloody crescendo, and Flanagan drops astutely cynical observations along the way (the Doll, for instance, 'realized that her life was no longer what she made of it, but what others said it was'). A true page-turner as well as a timely, pithy critique of celebrity culture and the politics of fearmongering." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"[Flanagan's] tender characterization renders Gina Davies's tale mightily plausible, and terribly sad. A writer who knows his characters and setting creates a compelling, timely work." Kirkus Reviews
"Like many other writers who were initially muted by the enormity of Sept. 11, 2001, he aspires to transmute the dangerous lunacy of today into art. A hard task, and he doesn't fully succeed....Thankfully, Flanagan can't help but be brilliantly Flanaganian at moments." Los Angeles Times
"The most searing and powerful book I have ever read about how our fears of terrorism are twisting and diminishing us in chilling fashion." Oregonian
"[A] page-turning thriller worthy of John le Carré, with a plot so credible a reader might feel it's nonfiction, except for a few too many coincidences. But even those can't dampen the chilling effect of the story, written in a fresh, exhilarating prose style in which the author makes each sentence a small work of art." Seattle Times
From the internationally acclaimed author of Gould's Book of Fish comes an astonishing new novel, a riveting portrayal of a society driven by fear.
About the Author
Richard Flanagan was raised in Tasmania, where he still lives. He is also the author of Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, and Gould's Book of Fish. He is married and has three children.