Question 7

This title was previously available on NetGalley and is now archived.
Buy on Amazon Buy on
*This page contains affiliate links, so we may earn a small commission when you make a purchase through links on our site at no additional cost to you.
Send NetGalley books directly to your Kindle or Kindle app

To read on a Kindle or Kindle app, please add as an approved email address to receive files in your Amazon account. Click here for step-by-step instructions.
Also find your Kindle email address within your Amazon account, and enter it here.
Pub Date 30 May 2024 | Archive Date 29 Jun 2024

Talking about this book? Use #Question7 #NetGalley. More hashtag tips!


'A work of non-fiction . . . but it has all the complexity of emotional heft of a great novel . . . Question 7 sets the high-water mark for what the genre [of memoir] can be' Sunday Times

'There’s so much . . . in Flanagan’s beautiful, unclassifiable novel-cum-memoir . . . That it is a masterpiece is without question' Observer

This is a book about the choices we make and the chain reaction that follows . . .

By way of H. G. Wells and Rebecca West’s affair, through 1930s nuclear physics, to Flanagan’s father working as a slave labourer near Hiroshima when the atom bomb is dropped, this daisy chain of events reaches fission when a young man finds himself trapped in a rapid on a wild river, not knowing if he is to live or to die.

Flanagan has created a love song to his island home and his parents and the terrible past that delivered him to that place.

Through a hypnotic melding of dream, history, science, and memory, Question 7 shows how our lives so often arise out of the stories of others and the stories we invent about ourselves.

I was fascinated, troubled, and enchanted by this strange and extraordinary work... I can think of nothing else quite like it’ Sarah Perry

‘Mighty in its rage and tenderness: his most momentous book yet’ Laura Cumming

'Spectacular . . . It seems to me a book that will have an overwhelming effect on readers. It certainly did on me' Colm Tóibín

'Question 7 could be Richard Flanagan’s greatest yet' Guardian

Fiercely alive and genuinely hard to put down’ Mark Haddon

Richard Flanagan, Winner of the Booker Prize 2014

'A work of non-fiction . . . but it has all the complexity of emotional heft of a great novel . . . Question 7 sets the high-water mark for what the genre [of memoir] can be' Sunday Times

'There’s so...

Advance Praise

‘Magnificent’ Tim Winton

'It’s a big call to make for a Booker winner, but Question 7 could be Richard Flanagan’s greatest yet' Guardian (Australia)

'Brilliant . . . While reading I found myself abruptly shutting the book again and again and steadying my own heart with a hand at my throat' Tara June Winch

'Richard Flanagan’s Question 7 is a profoundly moving love song for the writer’s parents, a forensic excavation, a lament, a confession, a jig-saw puzzle in which Hiroshima connects to HG Wells, and the Martians colonise Tasmania. We are all competitive, of course, so this is not an easy thing to say: but Question 7 may just be the most significant work of Australian art in the last 100 years' - Peter Carey, author of True History of The Kelly Gang

'Richard Flanagan’s Question 7 is the strangest and most beautiful memoir I’ve ever read. Magnificent' - Tim Winton, author of Eyrie

‘Magnificent’ Tim Winton

'It’s a big call to make for a Booker winner, but Question 7 could be Richard Flanagan’s greatest yet' Guardian (Australia)

'Brilliant . . . While reading I found myself...

Available Editions

EDITION Other Format
ISBN 9781784745677
PRICE £18.99 (GBP)

Available on NetGalley

NetGalley Shelf App (PDF)
Send to Kindle (PDF)
Download (PDF)

Average rating from 12 members

Featured Reviews

Richard Flanagan writes a remarkably astonishing multi-genre, imaginative and speculative memoir that he describes as a love song to Tasmania, its history, his family, and a world that has vanished, questioning history's too often linear and limiting perspective,, and the sense and stories we personally construct of who we are and how we come to be where we are in the present. Anton Chekov's satirical and absurd Question 7 is cited, Who loves longer, a man or a woman? He juxtaposes the bleak darkest of tragedies, the devastating bombing of Hiroshima, with the serendipity that it simultaneously is the reason that he exists at all as his father was in a Japanese prisoner of war camp, a situation in which he would have surely died.

The dropping of the atomic bomb is traced backed to HG Wells and his love affair with Rebecca West, the break up of which has him writing The World Set Free, a book that inspired scientist Leo Szilar and traces the follow up to the horrors of the bomb itself. This characterises the chain reactions, a thoughtful set of circular life connections that Flanagan makes, including the part played by British colonialism in genocide and the destruction of the natural world. He is offering the kind of surprising insights and perspectives that undoubtedly will challenge accepted realities and make people think. He is unsparing in relating his failings and his frightening near death experience in a river.

This is a profound, philosophical and emotional read, a revealing, captivating memoir that takes in the bigger picture amidst the more personal and which I found utterly gripping as it shines a critical light on what is accepted as reality. It is a unforgettable brilliant 'memoir' that I have no hesitation in saying this is a must read and am recommending it to all readers, particularly as I believe this is the best thing that this acclaimed author has written! Many thanks to the publisher for an ARC.

Was this review helpful?

Thank you to netgalley and the publisher for the opportunity to read this book. I honestly didn’t know what to expect when I received the chance to read this book as it’s not my usual type of book. I was pleasantly surprised. Very well written. Great stories.

Was this review helpful?

I have never read a book quite like this one. It's a family memoir, a history of the atom bomb, an exploration of colonialism, a vivid recollection of a near-death experience, a reflection on morality and a synthesis of everything that goes into making a person. I'm not really clever enough to review it properly, but I found it so affecting and it gave me lots to think about.

The title, Question 7, is a reference to Questions Posed by a Mad Mathematician by Anton Chekhov. The question is: Wednesday, June 17, 1881, a train had to leave station A at 3am in order to reach station B at 11pm.; just as the train was about to depart, however, an order came from that the train had to reach station B by 7pm. Who loves longer, a man or a woman?

There is no answer. That's life!

Was this review helpful?

I chose this book because it was written by a booker prize winner, though I have never actually read any of his books. But when I picked it up to read, and read the blurb I felt that maybe it wasn't really a book for me. However, I started reading and kept reading. It is beautifully written and flows more like very accessible narrative poetry. I kept reading it because it was lovely to read, and I wanted to know what was happening next. I found the text unpredictable, which is one of the things that keeps me reading. (Once I feel I know what is going to happen next I usually get bored with a book) It is a hard to describe book, but I think anyone that reads the first few pages in a bookshop will buy the book.

Was this review helpful?

HG Wells meets a young woman and begins a torrid affair that influences his later writing. A talented scientist realises that the power of the atom could be uses to create a devastating weapon. The crew of a bomber plane release a bomb which kills thousands and changes the direction of world history. An Australian prisoner of war struggles to survive in a Japanese camp. A young boy starts life in poverty but grows to be a writer. An island is conquered and destroyed.
This is an amazing read! Partly a series of short stories and musings, partly a treatise about the effect that humans have on society, the whole is just wonderful. Flanagan is a great writer and here his passion for his homeland shines through. The themes are disparate and shouldn't work but they do and the whole is powerful and profound.

Was this review helpful?

Readers who liked this book also liked: