Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan

By Richard Flanagan


Once upon a time that used to be referred to as 1828, earlier than the entire residing issues at the land and the fishes within the sea have been destroyed, there has been a guy named William Buelow Gould, a convict in Van Dieman's Land who fell in love with a black girl and chanced on too past due that to like isn't secure. foolish Billy Gould, invader of Australia, liar, assassin, forger, fantasist, condemned to reside within the such a lot brutal penal colony within the British Empire, and there ordered to color a ebook of fish. as soon as upon a time, striking issues happened....

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Although, as in Pale Fire, there is no direct reference to actual countries in these novels, there is an attempt at thematizing certain features of the totalitarian regimes of Nazi Germany and the Soviet Union. The narrative of Bend Sinister thus satirizes Nazi efficiency and includes parts of Lenin’s speeches and the Soviet constitution. The possibility of Kinbote-style, dreamlike escape, or escape from the world of totalitarian dictatorship which itself appears surreal or illusory, also informs the aforementioned novels through the acts of their persecuted protagonists Cincinnatus and Adam Krug, respectively.

The overwhelming use of Orientalist topoi especially permeates the episode where King Charles/Kinbote seduces and later abandons 17-year-old Fleur, whose graceful walk is described as that of Arab girls (Nabokov 1989a: 108). In the course of two paragraphs, Kinbote describes ‘‘the Persian rug-covered floor’’ in his royal chamber, where on a huge down pillow slept the scantily-clad Fleur, ‘‘under a coverlet of genuine giant panda fur that had just been rushed from Tibet by a group of Asiatic well-wishers’’ (Nabokov 1989a: 110).

As Julian Wolfreys observes, this overidentification with – or surrender to – ‘‘self-acknowledged figures of other discourses, other contexts we think we know’’ precisely points to the irreducibility or undecidability of any one ‘‘identity’’ (1997: 15–16). This is because the very idea of the copy, of mimicry, ‘‘implies a failed fidelity and the constantly frustrated desire for . . verisimilitude’’; it is this frustration of verisimilitude, the inherent ‘‘failure’’ to mimic an established discourse perfectly that becomes an ‘‘affirmation of difference’’ (Wolfreys 1997: 16).

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