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  • Published: 29 September 2020
  • ISBN: 9781760899943
  • Imprint: Knopf Australia
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $32.99

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams




The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is an ember storm of a novel. This is Booker Prize-winning novelist Richard Flanagan at his most moving—and astonishing—best.

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 she increasingly escapes through her hospital window 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, but 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 a strangely beautiful story about hope and love and orange-bellied parrots.

  • Published: 29 September 2020
  • ISBN: 9781760899943
  • Imprint: Knopf Australia
  • Format: Hardback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $32.99

About the author

Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan's novels have received numerous honours and are published in forty-two countries. He won the Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North and the Commonwealth Prize for Gould’s Book of Fish. A rapid on the Franklin River is named after him.

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Praise for The Living Sea of Waking Dreams

[In] the second great novel the author has sent out straight from his imagination - 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 ... with a message of hope, frail and tiny as an orange-bellied parrot.'

Geordie Williamson, Australian

Flanagan has delivered a book that both distils 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 ... [Flanagan's] acuity when it comes to drawing the core relationships, the complex cross-generational patterns of trauma and intolerance, rejection and love, is masterful ... This book is Vintage Flanagan. It is urgent and angry and fierce. But it is also a kind book, a sorrowful book. It is a book that offers notes 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. Nothing disappears, it suggests, if we’re brave enough to pay it the attention and regard it deserves. What an astonishing book this is.

Michael Williams, Sydney Morning Herald

Flanagan never writes two books the same. [The Living Sea of Waking Dreams] is short, weird, devastating and fully able to articulate and transcend the catastrophe of our times. Literary gold with a jacket design to match.

Booktopia, on Books and Publishing

The brilliance of Flanagan’s story and the deep power of this novel is in our witnessing of the end of the world.

Tony Hughes-d'Aeth, The Conversation

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams understands the textures of silence: what is unsaid, unsayable and unheard ... 'Is translating experience into words any achievement at all?' Flanagan asks. 'Or is it just the cause of all our unhappiness?' 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 his emphatic, wrenching answer.

Beejay Silcox, Guardian

I think it’s a masterpiece … It packs so many punches ... It's blowing my mind, it's so good. I'm loving it, absolutely loving it.'

Leigh Sales, Chat 10, Looks 3 podcast, episode 149

Discover more

Video
The Living Sea of Waking Dreams by Richard Flanagan

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is an ember storm of a novel. This is Booker Prize-winning novelist Richard Flanagan at his most moving—and astonishing—best. https://www.penguin.com.au/books/the-living-sea-of-waking-dreams-9781760899943

Article
New Richard Flanagan novel this October

We’re delighted to announce the publication of Richard Flanagan’s new novel, The Living Sea of Waking Dreams, in October 2020.

Article
Richard Flanagan Q&A

The Booker Prize winning author answers our questions about his strangely beautiful story about hope and love and orange-bellied parrots: The Living Sea of Waking Dreams.

Article
Essie Davis Q&A

The Australian actress on the daunting task of narrating The Living Sea of Waking Dreams audiobook for Booker Prize winning author (and family friend) Richard Flanagan.

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