peteg's blog - noise - books - 2022 01 18 RichardFlanagan AndWhatDoYouDoMrGable

Richard Flanagan: And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?

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Kindle. A 2011 collection of Flanagan's essays, including the famous Gunns: the Tragedy of Tasmania. Perhaps the best bits are the bread recipes, the love letters to the Tasmanian wilderness and those who get out amongst it. (The abortive kayak trip to the mainland sat somewhere between brown trousers and moronic to me.) In his defense of Australian fiction, he criticizes others for "the sorry retailing of facts as fiction", incidentally providing the perfect epitaph for his own Wanting. The stuff on Latham was hardly ever relevant. On Howard he has the odd zinger but otherwise tells you what you knew at the time and have mostly succeeded at forgetting. There's a touch of Hunter S. Thompson aspirationalism to the political stuff. Overall it has not aged well.

Goodreads. David Free got out the baseball bat: "For all his loathing of politicians as a class, Flanagan writes exactly the way politicians talk." Ouch. On the other hand I'm certain the arguments for Bush War II in Iraq were always bullshit. And on the third hand Free himself is apparently now reduced to writing dreck like this; perhaps they should have made common cause. I guess he took offense to Flanagan dissing Jonathan Franzen. Wow, this pond is so small.