Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish

Gould s Book of Fish A Novel in Twelve Fish Once upon a time that was called 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 convict in Van Dieman s Land who

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 convict 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, forger, fantasist, condemned to livOnce 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 convict 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, forger, 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 happened

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Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish

  1. Richard Flanagan born 1961 is an author, historian and film director from Tasmania, Australia He was president of the Tasmania University Union and a Rhodes Scholar Each of his novels has attracted major praise His first, Death of a River Guide 1994 , was short listed for the Miles Franklin Award, as were his next two, The Sound of One Hand Clapping 1997 and Gould s Book of Fish 2001 His earlier, non fiction titles include books about the Gordon River, student issues, and the story of conman John Friedrich.Two of his novels are set on the West Coast of Tasmania where he lived in the township of Rosebery as a child Death of a River Guide relates to the Franklin River, Gould s Book of Fish to the Macquarie Harbour Penal Station, and The Sound of One Hand Clapping to the Hydro settlements in the Central Highlands of Tasmania.

633 Reply to “Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish”

  1. If, like Gould, we gaze into life s ocean and paint what we sea, will the fish be like us, the fish be like me The answer is yes.When, like Gould, we search for the hero to our history, the savior of our story and find that files were god s joke on memory and that beauty is life s revolt against life, is it ok, like Percy Shelly, to pause and reflect that we were injured, and that means memory The answer is yes.When we realize that definitions belong to the definer, not the defined when we come [...]

  2. There are times when, as a book reviewer, it is tempting to simply put the adjectives on hold when mere descriptors seem paltry next to the indescribable beauty of the book itself Richard Flanagan s Gould s Book of Fish is that kind of book Reading it open mouthed, gasping at the richness and complexity of the text that clearly defies categorisation and classification, one feels intimately connected, while in awe of what the author has produced Gould s Book of Fish is a serious read one of those [...]

  3. Gould s Book of Fish is a modern postmodern parahistorical novel I can t define what it does exactly mean but it sounds great.I had begun with the comforting conclusion that books are the tongue of divine wisdom, and had ended only with the thin hunch that all books are grand follies, destined forever to be misunderstood.All the history of humankind is a history of blood, tears and sweat I have come to believe that trajectory is everything in this life, and though at the time it felt anything ot [...]

  4. Fish Well, why not Maybe we have lost the ability, that sixth sense that allows us to see the miracles and have visions and understand that we are something other, larger than we have been told Maybe evolution has been going on in reverse longer than I suspect, and we are already sad, dumb fish.Hard to argue with that, although any resemblance I may share with the pot bellied seahorse is purely coincidental.This is a beautiful book, for all its scabrous people and doings It is, as any good blurb [...]

  5. This is such a truly different bookon life, on art, on fish, on the development of Van Diemen s Land and neighboring islands It s fact and fiction and myth Sometimes difficult to read but ultimately very worthwhile Is it hallucination imagination mysticism erotic fantasy a gross combination of all and summarized in the world of fish and man.This Novel in Twelve Fish is so much than its title could ever state or imply Under the guise of learning of Billy Gould s task to create paintings of fish, [...]

  6. This is a beautifully written book but it is not for me I was fascinated with William Buelow Gould and I also love anything to do with fish I fish, flyfishing, paint and love fish So why didn t this book appeal to me Well I really don t know.And as for the ending, well it was sheer fantasyShame, an excellent author but then I really think that the hard life of living in a brutal penal colony was all too much for me.The odd thing is that the author was born in Tamania and that is one of my dream [...]

  7. 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 [...]

  8. An afterthought I ran into this rave review here the other day review show d it made me think whew, an intelligent human being not only liked this pile of self congratulatory rat s feces but loved it and wanted to marry it so this made me thinkMAYBE I WAS A LITTLE HASTYDamn, I hate it when I m not 100% right about everything all the time.Now I have to get this thing and try it again This is the stuff of councelling sessions In David G s review of the Sea the Sea by John Banville he described Mr [...]

  9. My copy of Gould s Book of Fish contains three pages of snippets from various magazines and newspapers, all praising the novel as wonderful and inventive since the pages are printed on both sides it makes for a total of six pages of admiration for the book I felt almost as if I was reading a popular paperback bestseller picked up at the local grocery store, and not the winner of the 2002 Commonwealth Writers Prize Not that there s anything wrong with either However, despite all the praise and pr [...]

  10. The writing in this book is sheer genius I don t care what anyone saysI absolutely loved this book It might be off putting for a lot of people is like a story within a story within a story and you could spend hours dissecting it This is one of those books that you simply must read than once, and if I m correct, probably than twice My copy is absolutely loaded with post its with remarks and questions quotationse sign of a good book for me, where there are questions than answers and I know I ll [...]

  11. Britain had some whack ideas Remember that time they colonized an entire continent with convicts That was whack.Gould s Book of Fish is the epistolary adventure of William Gould, a convict imprisoned on Sarah Island Somewhere along the way he picked up enough painting skills to become an artist, and he starts painting fish for the island s science and status obsessed Surgeon instead of working on the chain gang.I enjoy books The Luminaries comes to mind set in this frontier period of the coloniz [...]

  12. Fish stories have a credibility problem Even from the most trustworthy angler, they re slippery tales When the teller is a forger, a liar, and a thief who admits that nothing he says can be believed, you re on guard But when he confesses that he s also a fish, you re hooked.Richard Flanagan has written a book that s THIS BIG, surely the slipperiest, most outrageous novel of the year Who else would dare start with a 40 page preface that describes the story we re about to read as wondrous, luminou [...]

  13. This rollicking, raunchy, scatological, outrageous, hallucinatory, labyrinth, surreal faux history by Tasmanian Richard Flangan is told in the confessional voice of William Buelow Gould, a convict in 1827 on the British penal colony of Sarah s Island, off the coast of Van Diemen s Land now Tasmania Once upon a timelong ago in a far off place that everyone knows is not here or now or us This pertains to the barbaric fable of this mind bending, postmodern narrative.The real convict Gould wrote a s [...]

  14. Dear reader, if you decide you want to read this book, I have one burning hot tip for you don t read The Fatal Shore immediately before it Friends and wife told me this book was dark, disturbing etc which it certainly would have been had I not been reading FS at the same time But I was So many of the dark incidents in Flanagan s novel are taken almost verbatim from Hughes history that I couldn t really take them seriously the second time round This points to a larger problem for Gould s, for me [...]

  15. SPOILERS AHEAD This is the second book in the past month following Colson Whitehead s The Intuitionist where I ve felt like the illustrious critics writing the glowing reviews that grace the jacket are like traders playing the futures market There s no denying that Flanagan has great talent, but I m not sure that Gould s Book of Fish is the masterpiece so many of the blurbs paint it to be, and it s certainly not as one of them put it a partial answer to the question of the relative value of huma [...]

  16. I so looked forward to picking up this book The idea of writing a novel around 12 fish was intriguing However, roughly 100 pages in, I still didn t care for any of the characters, and while the writing was good, my apathy for the story was greater than my desire to finish Consequently, my decision to pass it on to my local bookstore with the hopes that someone else will find it entertaining is the right decision for me.

  17. What does it mean to be human What does it mean to be alive, to be part of the great chain of life feeding upon and in turn being food for others What does it mean to be a man stumbling and bumbling through life, one of life s victims, near the bottom of the food chain Then through all your trials and tribulations to discover you are a part of something bigger than yourself The sea The place from which all life began, to return home to finally feel safe and at home.The story of a man, weak and v [...]

  18. Dark, foul, and a little pretentious This is one of those books where I can appreciate the author s gift of descriptive language but just find the subject matter repetitive and a bit much Maybe someone at book club will disagree.

  19. This book took me ages to read simply cause of the language and the way it was written I both loved it and loathed it in equal measure It is complex but funny I am not sure I actually understood all of it.

  20. Flanagan, Richard Gould s Book of Fish A Novel in 12 Fish 2001 An extraordinary tale, funny, fascinating debasedA madness at once divine profane is all that Gould sees experiences in his wretched life, all that he wants is rum a soft place to lay his head Yet all about him are madmen such, Pickwickian monsters of depravity all about him are poverty debauchery of the most bestial sort, all he wants is a fine name to call his own some legitimacy Instead he finds himself a convict in Van Dieman s L [...]

  21. Richard Flanagan p e nossa merc , por um pre o muito apetec vel no actual mercado nacional 4.90 na Wook uma obra cuja dimens o ,estou convicto ,crescer cresceria a cada leitura Profundamente aleg rico, retrata sem miseric rdia o per odo colonial brit nico nos ant podas, utilizando para isso uma narrativa dentro da narrativa , esplendorosamente escrita e arquitectada A moral vitoriana tem nestas p ginas um antagonismo latente, e s o liminarmente arrasados os modelos conserva o da mem ria hist ric [...]

  22. This novel is unique in my experience Well written and constructed, it is a very appealing book In an amazing fashion it tells a fascinating story of the lives of prisoners in nineteenth century Tasmania It is told in the form of a book within a book, as the original Illuminated text morphs into the story of Billy Gould, an itinerant painter whose journeys end badly The novel is a mix of meditations and wild stories, jumping to and fro, each outlandish scene to be superseded by one stranger stil [...]

  23. This is the book that was canned by Peter Craven, the Australian literary critic, so that sales plummeted and first editions were remaindered at 29.95 instead of 50 In its first edition it s beautifully published, each chapter printed in fonts of different colours representing the different pigments that Gould was able to acquire It has lovely marbled endpapers and the cover is a beautiful sea blue, while the dust jacket is the blue black of the deepest ocean, with yellow and teal text and pictu [...]

  24. This is a very difficult book to review Almost as difficult as it was at times to read, so I guess that there is a strange sort of synchronicity to that Synchronicity is a good word which would I imagine be enjoyed by the author Flanagan, he is very very fond of words and florid English, so than plots or characters.Winner of three I think Commonwealth awards in 2002, Gould s book of fish was hailed by critics with high flying colours devastating prose , ambitious brilliant and magnificent are a [...]

  25. Unreliable Narrator On one page he says he did not commit the crime of forgery for which he was confined to Sarah s Island prison On another page, he says the only thing he knew how to do was create counterfeit documents So when do you believe him and when do you not Frankly, I found little of this believable, but perhaps that was the point Or not I know little enough of Australian history to know when the author was satirizing his history, telling us how stupid Westerners were and often still a [...]

  26. Unfinished Stopped around 40% Normally I d be an ideal candidate for this sort of thing, but ye gods, it s atrocious Some clever, wry bits which made me sad the rest was obscured by overblown prose that wasn t particularly fresh nor captivating Oh, except when the author heavy handedly hammered home The Message Thanks, dude Wouldn t have gotten that without ya Ten pages or so, I m really not about to relook at the thing in and all.

  27. An entertaining and often amusing ramble through Van Dieman s Land Tasmania in the early 19th century An extremely unreliable and surreal narrative purporting to be a memoir of a prisoner, with another layer about a forger who finds the book, this is a much wide ranging story mixing history with deranged fantasy.

  28. La sf r itul acestui roman, dup ultima fraz care d un cu totul alt sens pove tii, am sim it nevoia s o iau de la cap t dar n am f cut o, pentru c Gould s Book of Fish m a stors deja de puteri Pe c t de dificil i de chinuitoare a fost lectura, pe at t de intens i de obsedant a fost povestea Frumoas , minunat nu, nu a fost a a A fost sumbr , dens , un adev rat labirint de personaje i nt mpl ri care se n ruie spre final, c nd elementele pove tii nu se mai potrivesc, iar n elegerea noastr se clatin [...]

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