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Richard Flanagan talks to Stephanie Merritt

The Living Sea of Waking Dreams

Hay Festival 2021, 

This visceral new novel from a former Booker prizewinner is about family, love, hope – and orange-bellied parrots – set against global catastrophe. Anna's aged mother is dying, if her three children would just allow it. Condemned by their pity to living, she increasingly escapes through her hospital window into visions of horror and delight. When Anna's finger vanishes and a few months later her knee disappears, Anna, too, feels the pull of the window. She begins to see that all around her others are similarly vanishing, but no one else notices. All Anna can do is keep her mother alive. But the window keeps opening wider, taking Anna and the reader ever deeper into a strangely beautiful world.

Richard Flanagan talks to Stephanie Merritt