From the internationally acclaimed author of Gould’s Book of Fish comes an astonishing new novel, a riveting portrayal of a society driven by fear. What would you do if you turned on the television and saw you were the most wanted terrorist in the country? Gina Davies is about to find out when, after a night spent with an attractive stranger, she becomes a prime suspect in the investigation of an attempted terrorist attack. In The Unknown Terrorist, one of the most brilliant writers working in the English language today turns his attention to the most timely of subjects — what our leaders tell us about the threats against us, and how we cope with living in fear. Chilling, impossible to put down, and all too familiar, The Unknown Terrorist is a relentless tour de force that paints a devastating picture of a contemporary society gone haywire, where the ceaseless drumbeat of terror alert levels, newsbreaks, and fear of the unknown pushes a nation ever closer to the breaking point.
A life quickly flames out in Flanagan's firebrand follow-up to 2002's acclaimed Gould's Book of Fish. Gina Davies, a 26-year-old nightclub pole dancer (referred to throughout as "the Doll"), leads a provincial life in Sydney, Australia, spends $2,000 a month on clothes and is given to the occasional racist rant. But after a one-night stand with a man named Tariq, she turns on the TV and learns she's been pegged as the accomplice in an attempted terrorist attack on Sydney's Olympic stadium. She's instantly the most-wanted woman in Australia and the source of a raging tabloid media feeding frenzy led by sleazy TV journalist Richard Cody. The fast-paced narrative builds to a fittingly bloody crescendo, and Flanagan drops astutely cynical observations along the way (the Doll, for instance, "realized that her life was no longer what she made of it, but what others said it was"). A true page-turner as well as a timely, pithy critique of celebrity culture and the politics of fearmongering.