The Living Sea of Waking Dreams: A novel (Hardcover)

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From the author of the Man 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, 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 Flanagan's greatest novel yet, The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is a rising ember storm illuminating what remains to us when the inferno beckons: one part elegy, one part dream, one part hope.

About the Author

RICHARD FLANAGAN's seven novels have received numerous honours and are published in forty-two countries. He won the Commonwealth Book Prize for Gould's Book of Fish and the Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North. He lives in Tasmania.

Praise For…

“Flanagan shines in his fierce, surrealistic look at a family’s dissolution in a recognizable if dystopian Australia that’s ravaged by wildfires . . . Its intensity, urgency, and insights are unforgettable.”
Publishers Weekly (starred)
“Like Richard Powers’s The Overstory, this is a timely, unforgettable work of climate fiction.”
—Alexander Moran, Booklist (starred)

From Australia and the UK:

“Writers the world over are grappling with a version of this question: in the face of so much devastation, so much terror, what can fiction possibly achieve? The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is Flanagan’s emphatic, wrenching answer.”
—Beejay Silcox, Guardian Australia
“A fiercely well-observed account of the psychological twists and turns, the stress points and the double-binds of familial love.”
—Sam Leith, Daily Telegraph
“His prose has a pyrotechnic brilliance.”
—Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday
“The brilliance of Flanagan’s story and the deep power of this novel is in our witnessing of the end of the world . . . In The Living Sea of Waking Dreams it is a matriarch rather than a patriarch slowly, messily and unevenly passing out of the world [but] in this respect Flanagan’s novel resembles Jonathan Franzen’s The Corrections or HBO’s Succession.
—Tony Hughes-d’Aeth, The Conversation
“Utterly dazzling.”
—Jonathan Wright, SFX

“What an astonishing book this is . . . Masterful . . . Somehow, after seven novels, a Booker Prize, countless essays, lectures and pieces of journalism, Flanagan has delivered a book that both distills the literary qualities for which he has been celebrated for more than a quarter of a century and recasts our ideas about the kind of writer he is and what he can do. This novel is a revelation and triumph, from a writer demonstrating, yet again, the depths of his talent, while revelling in a new, unfamiliar register. It is at once timely and timeless, full of despair but leavened by hope, angry and funny and sad and a bit magical . . . Urgent and angry and fierce. But it is also a kind book, a sorrowful book. It is a book that offers notes of grace and gratitude in the face of beauty, asking its readers to be vigilant in how we take care of our world, of each other, of ourselves.”
—Michael Williams, Sydney Morning Herald
“The most significant link between The Living Sea of Waking Dreams and William Faulkner’s masterpiece As I Lay Dying, written at an antipode to one another and yet sharing so much, has to do with the misuse of important words—first among them ‘love’ . . . In this, Flanagan’s call-and-response to his revered literary antecedent, he explores how our failures to properly love have led us to the point of destruction. What impresses most, however, is that Flanagan’s novel doesn’t end in condemnation . . . It concludes, astonishingly for a story about our flaws, our blindnesses—the individual and collective fiasco that has brought us to this point—with a message of hope.”
—Geordie Williamson, The Weekend Australian

Product Details
ISBN: 9780593319604
ISBN-10: 0593319605
Publisher: Knopf
Publication Date: May 25th, 2021
Pages: 288
Language: English