Richard Flanagan - Gould's Book of Fish

Good books bring a character to life; great books bring a universe to life. This is a great book. It describes the life of prisoner Billy Gould on a convict island in the year 1825, creating a microcosm of crime, beauty, cruelty, poetry, unmentionable filth, eroticism, kafkaesque bureaucracy, and twelve fish. It's a relentless celebration of life in all of its sickening glory, and it's never as pretentious as that sentence sounds. Like the novel Riddley Walker I praised in an earlier posting, it has the rare quality of enveloping meaningful observations about humans in a down-to-earth package. Read it.

Posted by cronopio at 11:35 PM, March 19, 2003