Free Gould's Book of Fish by Richard Flanagan

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Gould's Book of Fish

Read & Download Gould's Book of Fish Gould's Book of Fish Summary È 108 Download ß eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ↠ Richard Flanagan Er fantasist condemned to live in the most brutal penal colony in the British Empire and there ordered to paint a book of fish Once upon a time miraculous things happen. This book lies well beyond this reviewer s abilities

Download ß eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ↠ Richard Flanagan

Read & Download Gould's Book of Fish Gould's Book of Fish Summary È 108 Download ß eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ↠ Richard Flanagan Once upon a time that was called 1828 before all the living things on the land and the fishes in the sea were destroyed there was a man named William Buelow Gould a con. A book this big offers an entire sea of woe and wonder as well as auatic metaphors It s about life love and death as well as the importance of truth and how slippery like a fish it can be It s a fascinating history of Sarah Island home of a notorious 19th century penal colony in Van Diemen s Land now Tasmania And it features as much blood sweat tears pus and poo as you could ever imagine The story begins in modern times where an antiue dealer in Hobart specializing in furniture he distresses himself to seem authentically old stumbles onto an eye catching book of fish illustrations and marginalia by a certain William Gould The story that s handwritten in differing inks including blood is Gould s account of his life as a forger an apprentice painter who learned from John Audubon and a prisoner shipped to Sarah Island The original book gets wet and soon disintegrates The book we get instead in the 400 or so pages that followed is what the dealer could remember of the story reproducing it from his notes If you think this metafiction smacks of postmodernism you d be right I ll have to say about that in a minute Gould had a rather luckless start in life and would never have thought to sell himself as a model of virtue Even so it was a false accusation that landed him in prison Once there he encountered a whole host of grotesue characters Several were actually useful in that their benefits from his art meant that he got out of the worst prison duties The dishonest commandant made a lot of money from the phony Constables Gould created And the pompous fleshy prison surgeon had Gould illustrate Australian fish the taxonomy of which he hoped would gain him entry into the Royal Society of Science An Aborigines woman there to cater to the commandant s lecherous demands had kindly relations with Gould Even with our narrator s reprieves and moments of love life was not easy His words describing the abject horror of prison life were indelible so than some might prefer One particularly vivid example was an instrument of torture called the cockchafer Literary scholars would have a field day discussing whether this book transcends its postmodern tendencies As I mentioned it does feature metafiction but it s not presented as artifice Another nod to postmodernism Gould s unreliable narration succeeds too It did not feel clich d The book also featured an element of transmogrification a trope I felt it came by honestly In fact I viewed any fishhuman interchange which was always pretty tacit as part of the appeal I liked how it reminded me of the friend who turned me on to this great book He goes by the name Gregsamsa who despite the allusion to Kafka I ve never seen metamorphosize into anything bad What really sets this book apart from its run of the mill pomo brethren though is how it showcases genuine human emotion You can t help but empathizeThe language in this is another strength Gould as a narrator has a distinctive voice as a man s man and a man of his time The sentences may be long and immoderately spiced but for the most part are a pleasure to read What interested me most though was the message itself I shouldn t go too far into this because readers should form their own opinions but it seemed obvious that one of the major themes was the Truth with a capital T its presence its absence and its indeterminacy Of course it s almost impossible to view an issue like this through anything other than a lens of our time but I ll try not to be too obvious about it Anyway the first uote that s relevant is by the initial narrator the antiue dealer who said Swindling reuires not delivering lies but confirming preconceptions I guess by analogy the most convincing fake news reuires playing to biases A bit later someone told Gould that definitions belong to the definer not the defined These are consistent with a Nietzschean world view that says there is no truth only interpretations Later still Gould wondered whether the truth even mattered It was easy to be cynical He had seen prison records at one point that were complete fabrications meant to make officials look humane and effective To his credit though Gould reasoned that the truth does matter to those who can be hurt by the lack of itThen there was the inherent difficulty in rendering truth I no longer even cared whether my paintings were accurate or right in the way that the Surgeon his Linnaean books of scientifick description wished paintings of fish to be accurate or right I just wanted to tell a story of love it was about fish it was about me it was about everything But because I could not paint everything because I could only paint fish my love because I could not even do that very well you may not think it much of a story This leads to a somewhat related theme the insufficiency of words to tell a story as big and true and encompassing as a man like Gould aching to find meaning would like That didn t stop him from trying I smelt the breath of my fellows I tasted the sour stench of their rotten lives I was the stinking cockroach I was the filthy lice that didn t stop itching I was Australia I was dying before I was born I was a rat eating its young I was Mary Magdalene I was Jesus I was sinner I was saint I was flesh flesh s appetite flesh s union death love were all eually rank all eually beautiful in my eyes I cradled their broken bodies dying I kissed their suppurating boils I washed their skinny shanks filled with ulcers rotting craters of pus I was that pus I was spirit I was God I was untranslatable unknowable even to myself The themes loom large but there s a subtle artistry to this book as well It s creatively structured beautifully written pus poo notwithstanding and good at making you think For me it was four stars bordering on five I couldn t uite give it that last one because I sometimes felt slightly adrift The sentences were loaded with commas the characters were legion and timelines were occasionally disordered though trackable once you identify Gould s then current oppressor It s a big one to reel in but well worth the effort for those who enjoy literary game fish

Richard Flanagan ↠ 8 Summary

Read & Download Gould's Book of Fish Gould's Book of Fish Summary È 108 Download ß eBook, ePUB or Kindle PDF ↠ Richard Flanagan Vict in Van Dieman's Land who fell in love with a black woman and discovered too late that to love is not safe Silly Billy Gould invader of Australia liar murderer forg. This novel of life in a penal colony on Sarah Island off Tasmania in the 1820 s could be characterized as a scatological tragicomedy as historical fantasy and as a satire of the human race along the lines of Swift or Voltaire The character William Gould sentenced to life imprisonment for forgery he didn t commit recounts his pathway of survival and tenuous hold on sanity and reaches toward meaning in his life by writing his story Each chapter is linked to a painting of a specific species of fish Both the colonial masters and inmates of the prison are free to reinvent themselves I loved this most about the book the creation of a microcosm to portray the dynamic foundations of good and evil civilization and barbarism historical truth and distorted fantasy The Commandant harnesses his free labor force for absurd schemes to recreate a new center of Enlightenment Europe replete with a railroad going nowhere and a Mah Jong emporium Gould fits in by painting forged Constables fanciful scenery for the railroad and murals for the gaming palace The camp doctor Lempriere dreaming of becoming a new Linneaus commissions Gould for illustrations of fish and later collects skulls of slaughtered Aborigines to support anthropological preconceptions of Europeans as the master human species This book constantly poses a contrast between man s inhumanity to man and the artistic creations of humanity Gould s discovery that a writer has effectively erased history with a whitewashed account of the colony threatens his sanity More and he comes to see people in the guise of fish and fish as people I loved this metaphor of art being both a form of madness and a refuge to counter the madness of the worldHis art and his journal are what sustains him this business of smuggling hope might make them wonder might be the axe that smashed the frozen sea within might make the dead wake swim free And that wasn t a painting worth twopence but something criminal than stealing It seems he represents all of us by his stuggling ambivalence Why is it that I am possessed of two entirely opposite emotions why is it that I still can t help believing that the world is good that without love I am nothing Yet any story will be better than the sorry truth that it wasn t the English who did this to us but ourselves So there you have it two things I can t bring them together they are wrenching me apart These two feelings this knowledge of a world so awful this sense of a life so extraordinary how am I to resolve themFor I am not reconciled to this world His words near the beginning distill the scope of this wondrous book Cast iron collars chains spiked basils the smell of men s dying souls living bodies along with the true humour of suffering the wondrous truth of contempt the glorious freedom of neglect the inarticulable fear of many fish my unreuited love for them these things I have known will never know again I was hurt by this world into making my soul transparent for all to see as words pictures but I was allowed to do it unbeholden undazzled by anything other than that same shivering naked soul

  • Paperback
  • 449
  • Gould's Book of Fish
  • Richard Flanagan
  • English
  • 06 September 2017
  • 9781843540700