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The Unknown Terrorist

A Novel

by Richard Flanagan

The Unknown Terrorist
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  • First Published:
    May 2007, 336 pages
    Jan 2008, 336 pages

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Power Reviewer Cloggie Downunder (09/17/13)

powerful read
The Unknown Terrorist is the fourth novel by Australian author, Richard Flanagan. After a night of passion with an attractive young stranger, Gina Davies wakes to everyone’s worst nightmare: she finds she has become a terror suspect. Within the space of three days, her life goes from one of happiness, of an optimistic future, to the surreality of being a fugitive with nothing. All it took was a bit of post-9/11 hysteria, some unexploded bombs in backpacks, a journalist’s career on a downhill slide, some sagging government approval ratings and a snub. For Sydneysiders, Flanagan’s characters feel familiar, their dialogue is genuine and the whole series of events has a completely plausible and a frighteningly authentic feel, even as they hurtle towards their tragic conclusion. As Flanagan demonstrates how easily a set of circumstances can condemn an innocent, he also shows the power of the media and fear-mongering. On terrorism, his main character muses: “…she had the odd idea that the terrorism question had become a fad, like body piercing or flares; a fashion that had come and would go like this season’s colours.” This powerful read is fittingly dedicated to David Hicks.
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