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Gould’s Book of Fish

by Richard Flanagan

Once upon a time that was called 1828, before all fishes in the sea and all living things on the land were destroyed, there was a man named William Buelow Gould, a white convict who fell in love with a black woman and discovered too late that to love is not safe. Silly Billy Gould, invader of Australia, liar, murderer & forger, condemned to the most feared penal colony in the British Empire and there ordered to paint a book of fish.

Once upon a time, there were miracles…

‘A work of significant genius’  Chicago Tribune

‘A seamless masterpiece’  Independent on Sunday

‘Is this the first masterpiece of the 21st century?’ Prospect

‘A work of pure brilliance’ Seattle Times

‘As inventive and visionary in its reimagination of history as [Toni] Morrison’s masterwork, Beloved’ Michiko Kakutani, New York Times

‘The novel has already garnered plenty of comparisons, with the scary m-word “masterpiece” appearing in print more than once… Brilliantly conceived.’ Boston Globe

‘[Flanagan’s] writing has the unmistakeable shimmer of literary star quality… a bewitching novel.’  New Statesman

‘One part Rabelais, one part Garcia Marquez, one part Ned Kelly.’ New York Times Book Review

‘Ferocious in its anger, grotesque, sexy, funny, violent, startlingly beautiful and, above all, heartbreakingly sad … I urge you to read it.’ The Observer


01 January, 2001

About Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961. His novels, Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould's Book of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist, Wanting and The Narrow Road to the Deep North have received numerous honours and are published in twenty-six countries. He directed a feature film version of The Sound of One Hand Clapping. A collection of his essays is published as And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?


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