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  • Published: 12 April 2023
  • ISBN: 9781761048159
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $22.99

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams

'Richard Flanagan is one of the greatest writers at work in the world today - I admire him and his writing immensely. The Living Sea of Waking Dreams is a haunting, urgent and important book about our broken and confusing age', James Rebanks

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: 12 April 2023
  • ISBN: 9781761048159
  • Imprint: Penguin
  • Format: Paperback
  • Pages: 304
  • RRP: $22.99

About the author

Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan was born in Tasmania in 1961. His novels Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould’s Book of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist, Wanting and The Narrow Road to the Deep North have received numerous honours and are published in 42 countries. He won the Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North in 2014.

Also by Richard Flanagan

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Praise for The Living Sea of Waking Dreams

Magnificent... Flanagan hasn't just written about the space between living and dying; in writing about the things that are disappearing from the world he's captured something fundamental about the moment we're living in

Guardian Australia

Pure and simple... A book in which workaday realism is increasingly marbled with magical effects... What impresses most, however, is that Flanagan's novel doesn't end in condemnation. It keeps searching for the proper form for love

Geordie Williamson, The Australian

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... What an astonishing book this is

Michael Williams, Sydney Morning Herald

Ambitious, powerful... There is much to enjoy and admire in this novel... Flanagan writes with a startling brilliance


An extraordinary tour de force, utterly compelling... It's a heartfelt, urgent plea to restore our connection to the world before it's too late

Morag MacInnes, Tablet, *Novel of the Week*

A fiercely well-observed account of the psychological twists and turns, the stress points and the double-binds, of familial love

Daily Telegraph

Striking... brilliantly done... Flanagan is wise enough to place his wider concerns, and the accompanying magic realism within the sturdy framework of a conventional family narrative

The Times

Pyrotechnic brilliance

Daily Mail

Utterly dazzling

Jonathan Wright, SFX


Scotland on Sunday, *Books to Look Out For 2020*

[Flanagan's] prose has a pyrotechnic brilliance

Max Davidson, Mail on Sunday

There's much beauty and hope to be found in The Living Sea of Waking Dreams

Claire Webb, Radio Times

Awards & recognition

The Age Book of the Year Award

Shortlisted  •  2021  •  The Age Book of the Year Award

Victorian Premier's Literary Awards

Shortlisted  •  2021  •  Fiction

Discover more

An introductory guide to Australian author Richard Flanagan

Want to read books by Richard Flanagan but don’t know where to start? Check out this introduction to the award-winning author and his many amazing works.

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.

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

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.

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.