FROM THE WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2014. Mathinna, an Aboriginal girl from Van Diemen's Land, is adopted by nineteenth-century explorer, Sir John Franklin, and his wife, Lady Jane. Franklin is confident that shining the light of reason on Mathinna will lift her out of savagery and desire. But when Franklin dies on an Arctic expedition, Lady Jane writes to Charles Dickens, asking him to defend Franklin's reputation amid rumours of his crew lapsing into cannibalism. Dickens responds by staging a play in which he takes the leading role as Franklin, his symbol of reason's triumph, only to fall in love with an eighteen-year-old actress. As reason gives way to wanting, the frontier between civilisation and barbarity dissolves, and Mathinna, w a teenage prostitute, goes drinking on a fatal night.
Richard Flanagan was born in Tasmania in 1961. His novels Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould's Book of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist, Wanting and The Narrow Road to the Deep North have received numerous honours and are published in 42 countries. He won the Man Booker Prize for The Narrow Road to the Deep North in 2014.