Rahul Sharma

Gould's Book of Fish

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Country  Australia
Publication date  2001
Originally published  2001
Followed by  The Unknown Terrorist
Cover artist  William Buelow Gould
3.7/5 Goodreads

Language  English
Pages  404 pp
Author  Richard Flanagan
Genre  Novel
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Publisher  Picador, Pan Macmillan, Australia
Media type  Print Hardback & Paperback
Preceded by  The Sound of One Hand Clapping
Similar  Richard Flanagan books, Novels

Gould s book of fish by richard flanagan review

Gould's Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish is a 2001 novel by Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan. Gould's Book of Fish was Flanagan's third novel.


Gould s book of fish by richard flanagan

Plot summary

Gould's Book of Fish is a fictionalised account of the convict William Buelow Gould's life both at Macquarie Harbour and elsewhere during his life in Van Diemen's Land.

Chapter titles (the twelve fish)

  1. The Pot-bellied Seahorse
  2. The Kelpy
  3. The Porcupine Fish
  4. The Stargazer
  5. The Leatherjacket
  6. The Serpent Eel
  7. The Sawtooth Shark
  8. The Striped Cowfish
  9. The Crested Weedfish
  10. The Freshwater Crayfish
  11. The Silver Dory
  12. The Weedy Seadragon


The novel is unusual in that it makes use of paintings by the real Van Diemonian convict artist William Buelow Gould reproduced with permission from William Gould's Sketchbook of Fishes, held by the Allport Library and Museum of Fine Arts, in the State Library of Tasmania. These images of fish are used both as chapter headings and inspiration for characters. Different editions around the world have used different images of Gould's for their cover.


  • Commonwealth Writers Prize, South-East Asia and South Pacific Region, Best Book, 2002: winner
  • Commonwealth Writers Prize, Overall Best Book Award, 2002: winner
  • Miles Franklin Literary Award, 2002: shortlisted
  • Victorian Premier's Literary Award, The Vance Palmer Prize for Fiction, 2002: winner
  • Booksellers Choice Award, 2001: shortlisted
  • Australian Literary Society Gold Medal, 2002
  • Reviews

  • Australian Book Review [1]
  • New York Times [2] Michiko Kakutani, 'A Reborn Criminal Distils Beauty From a Prison's Abominable Depths'
  • The Christian Science Monitor: "Lowly fish battle Tasmanian devil", Ron Charles, 28 March 2002
  • The Daily Telegraph [3]
  • The Guardian "In the hands of madmen", 1 June 2002
  • The Observer "Con fishing", Robert MacFarlane, 26 May 2002
  • References

    Gould's Book of Fish Wikipedia

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