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Hope At SeaPossible Ecologies in Oceanic Literature$
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Teresa Shewry

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780816691579

Published to Minnesota Scholarship Online: May 2016

DOI: 10.5749/minnesota/9780816691579.001.0001

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In a Strange Ocean

In a Strange Ocean

Imagining Futures with Others

(p.115) Chapter 4 In a Strange Ocean
Hope At Sea

Teresa Shewry

University of Minnesota Press

This chapter develops a story about hope that takes form through the connections between human and nonhuman beings, specifically fish, against the backdrop of the rapid loss of fish through excesses in fishing in a nineteenth century penal colony. The chapter moves to an archipelago at the border of the Pacific Ocean, Tasmania, and to Australian writer Richard Flanagan’s novels Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish (2001) and The Unknown Terrorist (2006). In reading these novels, I come to understand hope as a relation with the present world and future that is accessible only to particular characters and yet that always exists within a broader ecology involving intimacies between people, fish, and the ocean. I reflect on the catastrophic material realities that sometimes come to be apprehended in terms of hope, including empire, incarceration, and fishing. Although such realities may evoke a future involving survival for some, they mean devastation for others. In Flanagan’s writings, people’s passionate interactions with each other and with fish spark new hopes, based on struggles for a communal life better defined by the expressions of nonhuman beings.

Keywords:   hope, fish, human, fishing, Richard Flanagan, interactions, survival, devastation, communal life

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