Wanting (novel)

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First edition
Author Richard Flanagan
Country Australia
Language English
Publisher Knopf, Australia
Publication date
Media type Print Hardback & Paperback
Pages 256 pp
ISBN 978-1-74166-655-7
OCLC 270765982
A823.3 22
LC Class PR9619.3.F525 W36 2008
Preceded by The Unknown Terrorist (2006)

Wanting is a 2008 novel by Australian author Richard Flanagan.

Plot summary

Wanting cuts between two stories based on real historical figures under the central theme of 'wanting', and is set in both nineteenth century Tasmania and Britain. One tells the tale of an Aboriginal child, Mathinna, adopted by then governor of Van Diemen’s Land, Sir John Franklin, and his wife Lady Jane; the other of Charles Dickens’ love affair with Ellen Ternan after one of his daughters dies.[1]


Many critics regarded Wanting as one of the best novels of the year.[2][3][4]


  • Dedication: "For Kevin Perkins".
  • Epigraph: "You see, reason, gentlemen, is a fine thing, that is unquestionable, but reason is only reason and satisfies only man's reasoning capacity, while wanting is a manifestation of the whole of life." - Fyodor Dostoevsky
  • Epigraph: "That which is wanting cannot be numbered." - Ecclesiastes


  • 2008 Western Australia Premiers Prize
  • 2009 Queensland Premiers Prize
  • 2009 New Yorker Notable Book of the Year
  • 2009 Washington Post Book of the Year
  • 2009 London Observer Book of the Year


  • "The Australian"
  • "Publisher's Weekly"
  • "New York Times"
  • "... the savagery of the colonizing powers and further still the savagery of civilised society is laid bare for the reader to reflect upon. Flanagan’s writing style is masterful, grabbing the reader by the shoulders and forcing them to delve into their own ideologies and beliefs on good and evil, discipline and desire, right and wrong. "Booklover Book Reviews"
  • http://www.lemonde.fr/livres/article/2010/11/04/desirer-de-richard-flanagan_1435275_3260.html
  • http://www.latimes.com/entertainment/news/arts/la-ca-richard-flanagan10-2009may10,0,5098051.story


  • Jason Steger in "The Age"
  • Ramona Kaval on "The Book Show"
  • Simon Bevilacqua in "The Mercury"
  • Sally Warhaft on "Slow TV"


  1. ^ Flanagan, Richard (2009). Wanting. Random House Australia. pp. Cover blurb. ISBN 978-1-74166-668-7.
  2. ^ Holmes, Rachel (12 September 2009). "Wanting by Richard Flanagan". The Times. London.
  3. ^ "A subtle weaving of passion and despair". The Irish Times. 10 October 2009.
  4. ^ http://www.richardflanaganwanting.com.au/review_smh.aspx

External links

  • Wanting - at Penguin Books

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