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Wanting by Richard Flanagan
Wanting alternates between two different locales and time. In 1839, Sir John Franklin is governor of Van Dieman's Land (now Tasmania) and his attempts to westernize the Aborigines is having tragic results. His wife, Lady Jane, adopts an aboriginal girl, Mathinna, and wants to civilize her so she can mix with proper society. The second setting is London, 1854, and Lady Franklin is trying to raise money to find what happened to her husband and his ships during his ill-fated Arctic expedition. She appeals to Charles Dickens to write of her husband's heroics to counter the rumors that his men reverted to cannibalism to survive. Dickens writes and stars in a popular play about Franklin, falling in love with a young actress despite being married at the time. Richard Flanagan's novel has received positive reviews with the Portland Oregonian saying, "Flanagan has memorably imagined some of those men and women, in their journey to and from the frozen deep, in a remarkable book that shivers in the heart long after the last page."
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