Question 7 by Richard Flanagan – Our Review


Our Review…

At the centre of Flanagan’s latest novel, is his journey to uncover the reality of his father’s internment in a Japanese POW camp: his father’s survival, and Flanagan’s own life, possible only due the horror of the atom bomb dropped on Hiroshima. Flanagan grapples with the way humanity has attempted to define the meaning of its existence; whose suffering it recognises, whose suffering is ‘justified’ and whose is simply ignored.
For those who were enraptured by the story of Oppenheimer, Flanagan’s novel explores similar, compelling questions of morality and responsibility; he attempts to untangle a web of scientific achievement, political deliberations and the prescient warnings of literature, namely, the works of H.G Wells, before stitching together stories of genocide throughout history: the Frontier Wars of Australia, the Holocaust, Vietnam and reconcile the meaning, or meaning of existence in the context of his own near-death experience, on the Franklin River, as a young man, in Tasmania.
And, following the author’s lead, we readers are left reflecting on where we lie on the spectrum of responsibility for the suffering of ourselves and others and which moments we collect in our own search for meaning.

True to its titular question, every page of Flanagan’s novel leaves us with more questions than answers. After all, as Chekov would have us believe, “the only fools are those with answers.”

Review by Katina @ Great Escape Books