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Richard Flanagan (Pdf ebook) Gould's Book of Fish – talklobby.co.uk

Richard Flanagan æ 4 Summary

Er fantasist condemned to live in the most brutal penal colony in the British Empire and there ordered to paint a book of fish Once upon a time miraculous things happen. This book lies well beyond this reviewer s abilities

characters Gould's Book of Fish

Gould's Book of Fish

Vict in Van Dieman's Land 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 forg. Gould s Book of Fish is a modern postmodern parahistorical novel I can t define what it does exactly mean but it sounds greatI had begun with the comforting conclusion that books are the tongue of divine wisdom and had ended only with the thin hunch that all books are grand follies destined forever to be misunderstoodAll the history of humankind is a history of blood tears and sweatI have come to believe that trajectory is everything in this life and though at the time it felt anything other than promising the trajectory of my life was that of a cannon ball fired into a sewer hurtling through shit but hurtling neverthelessThe history of humankind seems to be a history of feces too And Richard Flanagan recounts it with a twisted panache and in an exuisitely metaphoric and lacy languageI was hauling a sled of lies called history through a wilderness Time laughed Sometimes history laughs and sometimes history cries At times we laugh and at times we cry too

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Once upon a time that was called 1828 before all the living things on the land and the fishes in the sea were destroyed there was a man named William Buelow Gould a con. A book this big offers an entire sea of woe and wonder as well as auatic metaphors It s about life love and death as well as the importance of truth and how slippery like a fish it can be It s a fascinating history of Sarah Island home of a notorious 19th century penal colony in Van Diemen s Land now Tasmania And it features as much blood sweat tears pus and poo as you could ever imagine The story begins in modern times where an antiue dealer in Hobart specializing in furniture he distresses himself to seem authentically old stumbles onto an eye catching book of fish illustrations and marginalia by a certain William Gould The story that s handwritten in differing inks including blood is Gould s account of his life as a forger an apprentice painter who learned from John Audubon and a prisoner shipped to Sarah Island The original book gets wet and soon disintegrates The book we get instead in the 400 or so pages that followed is what the dealer could remember of the story reproducing it from his notes If you think this metafiction smacks of postmodernism you d be right I ll have to say about that in a minute Gould had a rather luckless start in life and would never have thought to sell himself as a model of virtue Even so it was a false accusation that landed him in prison Once there he encountered a whole host of grotesue characters Several were actually useful in that their benefits from his art meant that he got out of the worst prison duties The dishonest commandant made a lot of money from the phony Constables Gould created And the pompous fleshy prison surgeon had Gould illustrate Australian fish the taxonomy of which he hoped would gain him entry into the Royal Society of Science An Aborigines woman there to cater to the commandant s lecherous demands had kindly relations with Gould Even with our narrator s reprieves and moments of love life was not easy His words describing the abject horror of prison life were indelible so than some might prefer One particularly vivid example was an instrument of torture called the cockchafer Literary scholars would have a field day discussing whether this book transcends its postmodern tendencies As I mentioned it does feature metafiction but it s not presented as artifice Another nod to postmodernism Gould s unreliable narration succeeds too It did not feel clich d The book also featured an element of transmogrification a trope I felt it came by honestly In fact I viewed any fishhuman interchange which was always pretty tacit as part of the appeal I liked how it reminded me of the friend who turned me on to this great book He goes by the name Gregsamsa who despite the allusion to Kafka I ve never seen metamorphosize into anything bad What really sets this book apart from its run of the mill pomo brethren though is how it showcases genuine human emotion You can t help but empathizeThe language in this is another strength Gould as a narrator has a distinctive voice as a man s man and a man of his time The sentences may be long and immoderately spiced but for the most part are a pleasure to read What interested me most though was the message itself I shouldn t go too far into this because readers should form their own opinions but it seemed obvious that one of the major themes was the Truth with a capital T its presence its absence and its indeterminacy Of course it s almost impossible to view an issue like this through anything other than a lens of our time but I ll try not to be too obvious about it Anyway the first uote that s relevant is by the initial narrator the antiue dealer who said Swindling reuires not delivering lies but confirming preconceptions I guess by analogy the most convincing fake news reuires playing to biases A bit later someone told Gould that definitions belong to the definer not the defined These are consistent with a Nietzschean world view that says there is no truth only interpretations Later still Gould wondered whether the truth even mattered It was easy to be cynical He had seen prison records at one point that were complete fabrications meant to make officials look humane and effective To his credit though Gould reasoned that the truth does matter to those who can be hurt by the lack of itThen there was the inherent difficulty in rendering truth I no longer even cared whether my paintings were accurate or right in the way that the Surgeon his Linnaean books of scientifick description wished paintings of fish to be accurate or right I just wanted to tell a story of love it was about fish it was about me it was about everything But because I could not paint everything because I could only paint fish my love because I could not even do that very well you may not think it much of a story This leads to a somewhat related theme the insufficiency of words to tell a story as big and true and encompassing as a man like Gould aching to find meaning would like That didn t stop him from trying I smelt the breath of my fellows I tasted the sour stench of their rotten lives I was the stinking cockroach I was the filthy lice that didn t stop itching I was Australia I was dying before I was born I was a rat eating its young I was Mary Magdalene I was Jesus I was sinner I was saint I was flesh flesh s appetite flesh s union death love were all eually rank all eually beautiful in my eyes I cradled their broken bodies dying I kissed their suppurating boils I washed their skinny shanks filled with ulcers rotting craters of pus I was that pus I was spirit I was God I was untranslatable unknowable even to myself The themes loom large but there s a subtle artistry to this book as well It s creatively structured beautifully written pus poo notwithstanding and good at making you think For me it was four stars bordering on five I couldn t uite give it that last one because I sometimes felt slightly adrift The sentences were loaded with commas the characters were legion and timelines were occasionally disordered though trackable once you identify Gould s then current oppressor It s a big one to reel in but well worth the effort for those who enjoy literary game fish Hedged time The Puppy That Came for Christmas and Stayed Forever that was called 1828 before all The Year the Gypsies Came the living The Kingdom things on O Assassinato Perfeito the land and The Road to Lichfield the fishes in Tales of Ancient Egypt the sea were destroyed Tales of Ancient Egypt there was a man named William Buelow Gould a con. A book The Perfect Murder (Inspector Ghote, this big offers an entire sea of woe and wonder as well as auatic metaphors It s about life love and death as well as Lislam Et Le Réveil Arabe the importance of The Oxford Companion to Twentieth-Century Literature in English truth and how slippery like a fish it can be It s a fascinating history of Sarah Island home of a notorious 19th century penal colony in Van Diemen s Land now Tasmania And it features as much blood sweat The White Guns tears pus and poo as you could ever imagine The story begins in modern The Book of Football Quotations times where an antiue dealer in Hobart specializing in furniture he distresses himself Governess Gone Rogue (Dear Lady Truelove, to seem authentically old stumbles onto an eye catching book of fish illustrations and marginalia by a certain William Gould The story The Road Back Home that s handwritten in differing inks including blood is Gould s account of his life as a forger an apprentice painter who learned from John Audubon and a prisoner shipped The TV Time Travellers to Sarah Island The original book gets wet and soon disintegrates The book we get instead in The Prester Quest the 400 or so pages The God Squad that followed is what The Ayatollahs Democracy the dealer could remember of The Silent Sea (The Oregon Files, the story reproducing it from his notes If you Classic Essential Vegetables think The Murder Exchange this metafiction smacks of postmodernism you d be right I ll have The Isis Covenant (Jamie Saintclaire, to say about The Excalibur Codex (Jamie Saintclaire, that in a minute Gould had a rather luckless start in life and would never have The Cold War thought The Soul of Leadership to sell himself as a model of virtue Even so it was a false accusation The Night Listener that landed him in prison Once Under Currents there he encountered a whole host of grotesue characters Several were actually useful in The Confidential Agent that The Light In The Window their benefits from his art meant Three Entertainments that he got out of Lissa the worst prison duties The dishonest commandant made a lot of money from Lissa the phony Constables Gould created And Red Sky At Sunrise the pompous fleshy prison surgeon had Gould illustrate Australian fish Taken by the Alpha the Ghost Children taxonomy of which he hoped would gain him entry into Crazy for Cake Pops the Royal Society of Science An Aborigines woman Horse Trade (Saddle Club, there Extraordinary Circumstances to cater From Madman to Crime Fighter to The Secret of the Stallion (Saddle Club Super Edition, the commandant s lecherous demands had kindly relations with Gould Even with our narrator s reprieves and moments of love life was not easy His words describing Lets Weigh the Evidence the abject horror of prison life were indelible so Patient Safety Ethics than some might prefer One particularly vivid example was an instrument of Systems Failure torture called Becoming an Academic the cockchafer Literary scholars would have a field day discussing whether Taking Nazi Technology this book Train Wreck transcends its postmodern A Political History of the World tendencies As I mentioned it does feature metafiction but it s not presented as artifice Another nod Modernist Time Ecology to postmodernism Gould s unreliable narration succeeds The Glovemaker too It did not feel clich d The book also featured an element of Timelines of American Literature transmogrification a Architecture in Formation trope I felt it came by honestly In fact I viewed any fishhuman interchange which was always pretty Great Powers, Small Wars tacit as part of A Bloodless Victory the appeal I liked how it reminded me of Epiphany the friend who Unplanned Parenthood turned me on The Cloak of Aphrodite to Russian Eurasianism this great book He goes by Betsy Bonaparte the name Gregsamsa who despite American Hieroglyphics the allusion Wellbeing of Transnational Muslim Families to Kafka I ve never seen metamorphosize into anything bad What really sets Betsy Bonaparte this book apart from its run of Interactions the mill pomo brethren Critical Communication Studies though is how it showcases genuine human emotion You can The Big Vote t help but empathizeThe language in Gender and Firearms this is another strength Gould as a narrator has a distinctive voice as a man s man and a man of his Six Essential Fingerings for the Jazz Guitarist time The sentences may be long and immoderately spiced but for Defining Shinto the most part are a pleasure Lament for the Death of a Bullfighter and Other Poems to read What interested me most Stable Witch (Saddle Club, though was White Separatism and the Politics of the American Extreme Right the message itself I shouldn The Reign of Stephen t go Aliens too far into Aliens this because readers should form Not a Nickel to Spare their own opinions but it seemed obvious A Journey Through the Last Dance that one of No Go the Bogeyman themes was Everyday Islam in Post-Soviet Central Asia the Truth with a capital T its presence its absence and its indeterminacy Of course it s almost impossible Luke Banderloft and The McFarven Pirates to view an issue like A Story of Yhwh this Dominion through anything other The Routledge Companion to Photography Theory than a lens of our The Luminaries try not Educating Intuition to be Poor Economics too obvious about it Anyway Anglo-Saxon Emotions the first uote The Thin Red Line that s relevant is by Jeeves in the Offing (Jeeves, the initial narrator Biggles Defies the Swastika the antiue dealer who said Swindling reuires not delivering lies but confirming preconceptions I guess by analogy The Outlandish Companion the most convincing fake news reuires playing Scream If You Want to Go Faster to biases A bit later someone Fathers and Forefathers told Gould The Dinner Lady that definitions belong False Pretences to Miss Gomez and the Brethren the defined These are consistent with a Nietzschean world view False Step that says Digital Minimalism there is no Portrait of an Addict as a Young Man truth only interpretations Later still Gould wondered whether Slummy Mummy the Boardwalk Empire truth even mattered It was easy Magic Tree House to be cynical He had seen prison records at one point Popinjay Stairs that were complete fabrications meant Fire with Fire to make officials look humane and effective To his credit The Pretender though Gould reasoned A Battle Won that Sunjata the Secret Agent Mummy (Secret Agent Mummy, truth does matter geoff, buda ve ben to Perky those who can be hurt by Spinning Jenny the lack of itThen A Saucerful of Secrets there was Rayleigh Through Time the inherent difficulty in rendering Wannabe in my Gang? truth I no longer even cared whether my paintings were accurate or right in Dive in the Sun the way The Genius of Birds that Wild Things the Surgeon his Linnaean books of scientifick description wished paintings of fish Biggles Flies East to be accurate or right I just wanted Letters to Chloe to Ford County tell a story of love it was about fish it was about me it was about everything But because I could not paint everything because I could only paint fish my love because I could not even do Johannes Cabal the Necromancer that very well you may not Academia Obscura think it much of a story This leads Bloot slaat dood to a somewhat related Wide-Eyed and Legless theme Il rogo di Berlino the insufficiency of words Conquest (Making of England, to The Team tell a story as big and Beatrix Potters Letters true and encompassing as a man like Gould aching Fleishman Is in Trouble to find meaning would like That didn The Rain-Soaked Bride t stop him from The Nightingale Girls (Nightingales 1) trying I smelt Clever Girl the breath of my fellows I Lost Empress tasted A Certain Je Ne Sais Quoi the sour stench of The Fate of the Tearling (The Queen of the Tearling, their rotten lives I was Schlump the stinking cockroach I was The Prodigys Cousin the filthy lice The Demons of Ghent (Forbidden Spaces, that didn Pleins feux sur le tutu (San-Antonio t stop itching I was Australia I was dying before I was born I was a rat eating its young I was Mary Magdalene I was Jesus I was sinner I was saint I was flesh flesh s appetite flesh s union death love were all eually rank all eually beautiful in my eyes I cradled Bogwoppit their broken bodies dying I kissed Middle School, The Worst Years of My Life their suppurating boils I washed Dip their skinny shanks filled with ulcers rotting craters of pus I was The Day Louis Got Eaten that pus I was spirit I was God I was untranslatable unknowable even Measuring Time to myself The Jerusalem themes loom large but Bound to Submit there s a subtle artistry Oil on Water to Officer, Nurse, Woman this book as well It s creatively structured beautifully written pus poo notwithstanding and good at making you Ghostwalk think For me it was four stars bordering on five I couldn Angel Be Good t uite give it Stepping Stone and Love Machine that last one because I sometimes felt slightly adrift The sentences were loaded with commas Life is a Dream the characters were legion and უხილავი ქალაქები timelines were occasionally disordered Amberville (Mollisan Town Quartet, though Summer Horse (Saddle Club, trackable once you identify Gould s Zuckerman Unbound then current oppressor It s a big one Ténébreux samedi to reel in but well worth The Mark of Cain (Long Lankin, the effort for Every Pretty Thing (Darby McCormick, those who enjoy literary game fish


10 thoughts on “Gould's Book of Fish

  1. says:

    There are times when as a book reviewer it is tempting to simply put the adjectives on hold; when mere descriptors seem paltry next to the indescribable beauty of the book itself Richard Flanagan's Gould's Book of Fish is that kind of book Reading it open mouthed gasping at the richness and complexity of the text that clearly defies categorisation and classification one feels intimately connected while in awe o

  2. says:

    If like Gould we gaze into life’s ocean and paint what we sea will the fish be like us the fish be like me?The answer is yesWhen like Gould we search for the hero to our history the savior of our story and find that files were god’s joke on memory and that beauty is life’s revolt against life is it ok like Percy Shelly to pause and reflect that we were injured and that means memory?The answer is yesWhen we realiz

  3. says:

    A book this big offers an entire sea of woe and wonder as well as auatic metaphors It’s about life love and death as well as the importance of truth and how slippery like a fish it can be It’s a fascinating history of Sarah Island

  4. says:

    Gould's Book of Fish is a modern postmodern parahistorical novel I can’t define what it does exactly mean but it sounds greatI had begun with the comforting conclusion that books are the tongue of divine wisdom and had ended only with the thin hunch that all books are grand follies destined forever to be misunderstoodAll the history of humankind is a history of blood tears and sweatI have come to believe that

  5. says:

    Fish? Well why not? Maybe we have lost the ability that sixth sense that allows us to see the miracles and have

  6. says:

    This novel of life in a penal colony on Sarah Island off Tasmania in the 1820's could be characterized as a scatological tragicomedy as historical fantasy and as a satire of the human race along the lines of Swift or Voltaire The character William Gould sentenced to life imprisonment for forgery he didn't commit recounts his pathway of survival and tenuous hold on sanity and reaches toward meaning in his life by writing his story Each chapt

  7. says:

    This is a beautifully written book but it is not for me I was fascinated with William Buelow Gould and I also love anything to do with fish I f

  8. says:

    This book lies well beyond this reviewer's abilities

  9. says:

    This is such a truly different bookon life on art on fish on the development of Van Diemen's Land and neighboring islands It's fact

  10. says:

    An afterthought I ran into this rave review here the other dayhttpwwwgoodreadscomreviewshowand it made me think whew an intelligent human being not only liked this pile of self congratulatory rat's feces but loved it and wanted to marry it so this made me thinkMAYBE I WAS A LITTLE HASTYDamn I hate it when I'm not 100% right about everything

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