Wednesday, 30 January 2008

Death of a River Guide by Richard Flanagan

Set in the Tasmanian rainforest, this is a story of tourists and the environment, Aboriginal history and family secrets. Aljaz has given up leading tour groups but has agreed to lead one another as a favour to a friend. He's out of condition and not able to successfully lead the group, which leads to accidents and mis-judgements, prompting him to think back over his life. I love the parts of the book set on the river, the river itself is a fully developed character in the book, roaring through the gorges and dominating all the human activity, demonstrating the utter power of nature. At the same time, Aljaz's personal stories are moving and give interesting insights into the history of Tasmania and the relationships between convicts, free settlers and aborigines and the descendents of all these groups. The book very effectively uses rafting as a metaphor for life and builds up emotional power as it moves along.


Anonymous said...

I've been wanting to read this book for quite some time now...I really must do so on your recommendation.


Anonymous said...

you're kinda like a poetic version of indianajones.

jem said...

I like the sound of what you said about the river as a character in itself. I think its great when authors foreground features that sometimes get overlooked as mere scenery, when often they have more life in them than many of the characters.

Tommaso Gervasutti said...

Have you read the other two stunning novels by R. Flanagan?
The Sound Of One Hand Clapping in particular is one of the novels I will never forget.

Crafty Green Poet said...

tommaso - I've got Gould's Book of Fish on my bookshelf, waiting to be read. I will be looking out for other books by him now.

Jem - I agree so much with your comment!

S Thomas - thanks!

Tracey - hope you enjoy it!