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The Goanna

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Richard One of the things I liked most about this book was the aftermath of the railway for both the Australian POWs and the guards. Although it was infuriating to follow the success and comfortable lives some of them had The Goanna, the Korean guard who was involved in doubtless the most harrowing attrocity, had an almost sympathetic ending.

What did you feel about The Goanna? Did you sympathise with him as he faced his death sentence? Could you understand his devotion to duty and his desire to control and deliver death? The money he earnt obviously made a huge difference to his family.

Did he deserve the death penalty?


message 2: by My Kindle and a Cup of Tea (last edited Feb 21, 2014 04:59PM) (new) - added it

My Kindle and a Cup of Tea You should listen to Richard Flanagan talking with ABC's Richard Fidler here. Flanagan actually met the man on whom the Goanna is based:

http://www.abc.net.au/local/stories/2... .

I believe the novel's message is ultimately about understanding, reconciliation and forgiveness. The Goanna's story reveals he is also a victim of the horrific circumstances of the war. The general tenor of the novel suggests to me that none of us are in a position to moralise. Human beings are a complex mix of good and bad. Sometimes we are unlucky enough to discover terrible things we are capable of doing. Sometimes we find out about great things.


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