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First Person: Book summary and reviews of First Person by Richard Flanagan

First Person

by Richard Flanagan

First Person by Richard Flanagan X
First Person by Richard Flanagan
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  • Published in USA  Apr 2018
    368 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

From the Man Booker Prize-winning author of The Narrow Road to the Deep North, the hypnotic tale of a ghost writer writing the memoir of a notorious con man, and the chilling events that unfold as their lives become increasingly intertwined.

Kif Kehlmann, a young, penniless writer, is rung in the middle of the night by the notorious con man and corporate criminal, Siegfried Heidl. About to go to trial for defrauding the banks of $700 million, Heidl offers Kehlmann the job of ghost writing his memoir. He has six weeks to write the book, for which he'll be paid $10,000.

But as the writing gets under way, Kehlmann begins to fear that he is being corrupted by Heidl. As the deadline draws closer, he becomes ever more unsure if he is ghost writing a memoir, or if Heidl is rewriting him - his life, his future. Everything that was certain grows uncertain as he begins to wonder: Who is Siegfried Heidl - and who is Kif Kehlmann?

As time runs out, as Kehlmann's world feels it is hurtling toward a catharsis, one question looms above all others: What is the truth?

By turns compelling, comic, and chilling, this is a haunting journey into the heart of our age.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Starred Review. An acerbic exploration of how the contemporary world came to be defined by lies, deceit, and obfuscation ... Full of hilarious asides, this sonorous, blackly comic novel offers searing insight into our times." - Booklist

"This harrowing if unsubtle story of insidious corruption is a combination of satire, tragicomedy, melodrama, and polemic..." - Publishers Weekly

"Though sections of the novel demonstrate Flanagan's mastery of descriptive writing, its entirety suffers from tonal incongruity and a denouement with little impact. Readers who enjoyed Chuck Palahniuk's Fight Club will find similar themes here." - Library Journal

"First Person is studded with sharp, breath-catching observations about the finite nature of life." - Financial Times

"First Person is a serious treatment of important modern issues (corporate corruption, exploitation of trust, the impudent dismissal of truth)." - The Sunday Times

"A smart, slippery novel pitched somewhere between book-world satire, psychological thriller, and state-of-Australia analysis ... Electric." - Daily Mail

"Absorbing ... The strength of the novel rests in its mordant intelligence, in its recognition that the world today is essentially Ziggy's, one of make-believe and denial." - The Scotsman

"A black comedy about the unreliability of memory and the warped values of modern publishing. But the beauty of First Person is the way it blossoms into a much richer novel than that outline scenario suggests ... Both readable and thought-provoking." - The Irish Mail on Sunday

"Scathingly funny ... Also a profound and thought-provoking novel that explores the nature of truth, lies, and fiction." - The Bookseller

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Author Information

Richard Flanagan Author Biography

Photo: © Pan Macmillan Australia

Descended from Irish convicts transported to Van Diemens Land (later renamed Tasmania) during the Great Famine, Richard Flanagan was born in his native island in 1961, the fifth of six children. He spent his childhood in the mining town of Rosebery and left school at sixteen to work as a bush laborer. He later attended the University of Tasmania, graduating with first class honours in 1982.  The following year he was awarded a Rhodes Scholar to Oxford University.  He later worked as a laborer and river guide.

He wrote four history books before turning to fiction.  His first novel, the much celebrated Death of a River Guide (1994), tells the tale of Aljaz Cosini, a guide on the Franklin River who lies drowning as he relives his life and the lives of his ...

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Other books by Richard Flanagan at BookBrowse
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  • The Narrow Road to the Deep North jacket
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