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Publisher's Summary

A sweeping novel of world war, migration, and the search for new beginnings in a new land, The Sound of One Hand Clapping was both critically acclaimed and a best seller in Australia. It is a virtuoso performance from an Australian who is emerging as one of our most talented new storytellers.

It was 1954 in a construction camp for a hydroelectric dam in the remote Tasmanian highlands, where Bojan Buloh had brought his family to start a new life away from Slovenia, the privations of war, and refugee settlements. One night Bojan's wife walked off into a blizzard, never to return - leaving Bojan to drink too much to quiet his ghosts and to care for his three-year-old daughter, Sonja, alone. Thirty-five years later, Sonja returns to Tasmania and a father haunted by memories of the European war and other, more recent horrors. As the shadows of the past begin to intrude ever more forcefully into the present, Sonja's empty life and her father's living death are to change forever.

The Sound of One Hand Clapping is about the barbarism of an old world left behind, the harshness of a new country, and the destiny of those in a land beyond hope who seek to redeem themselves through love.

©1997 Richard Flanagan. ‘Goodbye Mr Pippin’ by George Park, from A.C. Frost, Green Gold, 1976(A. C. Frost and the Donnybrook and Balingup Shire Council, WA). Recorded by arrangement with Grove Atlantic, Inc. (P)2014 Audible Inc.

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WAY TOOOOOOO LONG. I worked and worked at it.

This book needs an editor with a big box of blue pencils. Because I loved Flanagan's NARROW ROAD, I took a gamble on this one and am still gobsmacked at the difference in his approach to the narrative.

What in god's name was even the impetus for ONE HAND? The universal immigrant experience? Dysfunctional families? Domestic abuse? Prodigal father returns? Super child succeeds?

And why all the repetition? Why all the back and forth between time and place? It wasn't worth it.