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Description - Wanting by Richard Flanagan

Richard Flanagan's Wanting reminds us that he is one of the most exciting novelists working anywhere, full stop - The Age

From the winner of the Man Booker Prize. The bestselling, universally lauded novel of desire and its denial from acclaimed writer Richard Flanagan.

Van Diemen's Land, 1841. Mathinna, the adopted Aboriginal daughter of the island's governor, Sir John Franklin, and his wife, Lady Jane, sits for her portrait. She is the subject of a grand experiment in civilisation - one that will determine whether science and reason can be imposed in place of savagery and desire.

Years pass. Sir John Franklin disappears on an Arctic expedition to find the fabled Northwest Passage. England is horrified as reports of cannibalism filter back from search parties, no one more so than the most celebrated novelist of the day, Charles Dickens, for whom Franklin's story becomes a means to plumb the frozen depths of his own soul.

As several lives become entwined, Wanting transforms the classical myth of Leda and the swan into a novel about the ways in which desire - and its denial - shape us all.

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