The living sea of waking dreams

Richard Flanagan, 1961-

Book - 2021

"From the author of the Booker Prize-winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North comes a wrenching novel of family, climate change, and the resilience of the human spirit--an elegy to our disappearing world. 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, subjected to increasingly desperate medical interventions, she instead turns her focus to her hospital window, through whic...h she escapes 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, though no one else notices. All Anna can do is keep her mother alive, stay the course that she and her brothers have set. But the window keeps opening wider, taking Anna and the reader ever deeper into an eerily gorgeous story about hope and love, hospital beds and orange-bellied parrots, beauty and solitude and regret. An ember storm of a novel, The Living Sea of Waking Dreams lays bare the interconnectedness of humans and the natural world, and makes an impassioned plea to avert our shared fate"--

Saved in:

1st Floor Show me where

FICTION/Flanagan, Richard
2 / 2 copies available
Location Call Number   Status
1st Floor FICTION/Flanagan, Richard Checked In
1st Floor FICTION/Flanagan Richard Checked In
Subjects
Genres
Science fiction
Domestic fiction
Ecofiction
Published
New York : Alfred A. Knopf 2021.
Language
English
Physical Description
266 pages ; 22 cm
ISBN
9780593319604
0593319605
Main Author
Richard Flanagan, 1961- (author)
Review by Booklist Reviews

*Starred Review* Flanagan (First Person, 2018), winner of the Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North (2014), uses his latest novel to demand action on the climate crisis. Anna is an architect whose mother, Francie, is nearing the end of her life in Hobart, Tasmania. Anna and her brother Terzo resolve to keep their mother alive against the wishes of their failed artist brother Tommy (the only sibling still in Hobart), medical professionals, and their mother. But then one of Anna's fingers suddenly disappears, and then one knee inexplicably goes missing. She learns that such vanishings are happening across the country, yet no one is speaking of them. Meanwhile, Australia is burning and the updates on Anna's social media feed provide a constant low hum of horror, making the one constant in Anna's life keeping her mother alive. The analogy between the life-support system used to sustain Francie and the current economic system perpetuating environmentally destructive industries may be obvious, and Flanagan's point is not subtle. Unless radical changes are made, we face a bleak, unimaginable world in the near future. Like Richard Powers' The Overstory (2018), this is a timely, unforgettable work of climate fiction, unrelenting in its focus on the horrors of climate change, but one that also offers some hope. Copyright 2021 Booklist Reviews.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Man Booker winner Flanagan (The Narrow Road to the Deep North) shines in his fierce, surrealistic look at a family's dissolution in a recognizable if dystopian Australia that's ravaged by wildfires. Amid the fires, 56-year-old Anna, an award-winning Sydney architect, makes reluctant trips to Hobart, Tasmania, to check on her mother, Francie. After Francie suffers a catastrophic brain hemorrhage, Anna's older brother Tommy, an unsuccessful artist who has been shouldering Francie's care, hopes to let her die in peace. Guilt-ridden over her earlier neglect of her family and unprepared to face her mother's mortality, Anna instead sides with their younger brother, Terzo, and orders aggressive treatment. Francie begins hallucinating as the increasingly invasive interventions fail, and despite Francie's delusions, which come through when Francie musters the energy to speak, Anna finds new tenderness in her time with her mother. Meanwhile, Anna's left ring finger painlessly but inexplicably vanishes, soon followed by a kneecap and a nipple. Though she sees the body parts of others disappearing, too (her 22-year-old son gradually fades away to a few fingers), no one comments or reports on the eerie phenomenon. Amid all of these losses, her complacency about her once rewarding life vanishes. Juxtaposing measured prose with passages that jolt and tumble, and realistic depictions of medical issues with Francie's phantasmagoric visions ("the mountain plains outside her window full of fires and sandstorms where, nightly, women queued in one area for abortions and in another for orgies, where fleeing people turned into plants only to perish in flames"), Flanagan's novel illuminates the dangers of taking the world and one another for granted. Its intensity, urgency, and insights are unforgettable. (May) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publishers Weekly Reviews

Man Booker winner Flanagan (The Narrow Road to the Deep North) shines in his fierce, surrealistic look at a family's dissolution in a recognizable if dystopian Australia that's ravaged by wildfires. Amid the fires, 56-year-old Anna, an award-winning Sydney architect, makes reluctant trips to Hobart, Tasmania, to check on her mother, Francie. After Francie suffers a catastrophic brain hemorrhage, Anna's older brother Tommy, an unsuccessful artist who has been shouldering Francie's care, hopes to let her die in peace. Guilt-ridden over her earlier neglect of her family and unprepared to face her mother's mortality, Anna instead sides with their younger brother, Terzo, and orders aggressive treatment. Francie begins hallucinating as the increasingly invasive interventions fail, and despite Francie's delusions, which come through when Francie musters the energy to speak, Anna finds new tenderness in her time with her mother. Meanwhile, Anna's left ring finger painlessly but inexplicably vanishes, soon followed by a kneecap and a nipple. Though she sees the body parts of others disappearing, too (her 22-year-old son gradually fades away to a few fingers), no one comments or reports on the eerie phenomenon. Amid all of these losses, her complacency about her once rewarding life vanishes. Juxtaposing measured prose with passages that jolt and tumble, and realistic depictions of medical issues with Francie's phantasmagoric visions ("the mountain plains outside her window full of fires and sandstorms where, nightly, women queued in one area for abortions and in another for orgies, where fleeing people turned into plants only to perish in flames"), Flanagan's novel illuminates the dangers of taking the world and one another for granted. Its intensity, urgency, and insights are unforgettable. (May) Copyright 2021 Publishers Weekly.

Review by Publisher Summary 1

"From the author of the Booker Prize-winning The Narrow Road to the Deep North comes a wrenching novel of family, climate change, and the resilience of the human spirit--an elegy to our disappearing world. 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, subjected to increasingly desperate medical interventions, she instead turns her focus to her hospital window, through which she escapes 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, though no one else notices. All Anna can dois keep her mother alive, stay the course that she and her brothers have set. But the window keeps opening wider, taking Anna and the reader ever deeper into an eerily gorgeous story about hope and love, hospital beds and orange-bellied parrots, beauty and solitude and regret. An ember storm of a novel, The Living Sea of Waking Dreams lays bare the interconnectedness of humans and the natural world, and makes an impassioned plea to avert our shared fate"--

Review by Publisher Summary 2

In a novel of family, climate change and the resilience of the human spirit, Anna, whose aged mother is dying in a world of perennial fire and growing extinctions, escapes into visions of horror and delight through the ever-widening hospital window.

Review by Publisher Summary 3

From the acclaimed Booker Prize-winning author comes a dazzling novel of family, love and love's disappointmentsAnna's aged mother is dying. Condemned by her children's pity to living, subjected to increasingly desperate medical interventions, she turns her focus to her hospital window, through which she escapes 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, yet 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 an eerily beautiful story of grief and possibility, of loss and love and orange-bellied parrots. Hailed on publication in Australia as Richard Flanagan's greatest novel yet, The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is a rising ember storm illuminating what remains when the inferno beckons: one part elegy, one part dream, one part hope.