peteg's blog - noise - books - 2021 07 25 RichardFlanagan TheUnknownTerrorist

Richard Flanagan: The Unknown Terrorist.

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Kindle. The worst thing I've read from Flanagan yet. It's like he spent a weekend in Sydney and thought he'd have a crack at a detective/crime effort ala Peter Corris. The formula involves loads of locations, moving between those locations, a dash of local colour (Mardi Gras, the Cross) and a cast of stereotypes: here a stripper, a Muslim drug mule, an inner city single mum, a self-deluded Richard Carlton-ish reporter, not to mention the tarnished but not bent cop with a heart of gold. It's as if he hasn't heard of Roger Rogerson, who made this sort of fiction redundant a long time ago. The plot moves like a train on a railroad alongside telegraph poles, binaries strung between cliches. The post-911 ASIO arrest laws are spelt out carefully but Flanagan seems ignorant of Howard's gun laws from a decade previous. Everyone and everything is on a downward spiral.

Goodreads. Michiko Kakutani dug it.