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The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan

Bookseller Review by Kath:

‘Set against a burning climate-changed Tasmania, this book brings together three children and their dying mother. Technology-laden lives set against a simpler, life lived in nature and without wealth, separate two of the off-spring against their less worldly, but acutely sensitive, brother who cares for their mother.  A brave novel of ideas, of symbolism and of how death is accepted or not, Flanagan has not written so deeply or exquisitely as  in The Narrow Road to the Deep North.  But he has set us thinking about love, and how to we treat the dying.’



ISBN: 9781784744182 Category: Tags: , ,


In a world of perennial fire and growing extinctions, Anna’s aged mother is dying-if her three children would just allow it. Condemned by their pity to living she increasingly escapes through her hospital window into visions of horror and delight.

When Anna’s finger vanishes and a few months later her knee disappears, Anna too feels the pull of the window. She begins to see that all around her others are similarly vanishing, but no one else notices. All Anna can do is keep her mother alive. But the window keeps opening wider, taking Anna and the reader ever deeper into a strangely beautiful novel about hope and love and orange-bellied parrots.

Richard Flanagan is one of the greatest writers at work in the world today – I admire him and his writing immensely. The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is a haunting, urgent and important book about our broken and confusing age. If John Clare, a hero of mine and Flanagan’s, was brought back from the dead to witness our ongoing apocalypse, I imagine he’d write something very like this novel — James Rebanks

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