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Wanting

by Richard Flanagan

How could Charles Dickens' failing marriage be connected to the subjugation of the Aboriginal inhabitants of Van Diemen's Land? Read on - the link becomes clear. Dark, destructive passion. While Dickens indulges his in pursuit of a young actress, Victorian Empire builders satisfy theirs by creating a White Christian society in the Pacific. Despite its sombre theme, a compelling read, with flashes of beauty and high spirits lifting the mood.

Extract

Mathinna was now so excited and so free it was as if she were tumbling through clouds. It was as though she was approaching some truth of herself, and people were applauding her for it. Someone was saying that there were fewer than seventy of the original race left at Mr Robinson's settlement, but the boat was rising up through her, she could feel the wind lifting and dropping her. Her movements were no longer steps and skips or slides but something magical that had taken hold of her body. ... she kicked off her shoes and became a kangaroo absolutely still, except for its head, click-clicking around, then a stamp, two leaps, and she was flying.

Parallels

The Potato Factory by Bryce Courtenay
Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad
 

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