The Sound of One Hand Clapping

The Sound of One Hand Clapping

by Richard Flanagan



In 1954, in a construction camp for a hydroelectric dam in the remote Tasmanian highlands, Bojan Buloh had brought his family to start a new life away from Slovenia, the privations of war, and refugee settlements. One night, Bojan’s wife walked off into a blizzard, never to return, leaving Bojan to drink too much to quiet his ghosts, and to care for his three-year-old daughter Sonja, alone. Thirty-five years later, Sonja returns to Tasmania and a father haunted by memories of the European war and other, more recent horrors. As the shadows of the past begin to intrude ever more forcefully into the present, Sonja’s empty life and her father’s living death are to change forever.




  • Very real description of Bojan and Sonja in particular. Loved the book but found it disturbing
  • Only misgiving is the happy ending, it didn’t quite fit but overall the novel is a very good depiction of Bojan and Sonya
  • Well written, sad, gut wrenching. Recommend reading the novel. Can accept the ending where the characters can find some sort of peace at the end. Should be recommended reading as it is relevant to refugee situation today.
  • Found the book very sad and almost gave up reading it. Very much related to the present day refugee situation. Found the language flowery in parts. Needed to skip some of the violent sections.
  • Read the novel when it was first published, enjoyed it then and really loved re-reading it again. Brilliant writing, characterisation excellent. Written so the reader understood why Bojan was the way he was (violent). Like the juxtaposition of the violence against his tenderness with the wood that he was working on.
  • Very well written, a little flowery in the beginning but overall a very good read. Painful to read about Sonja’s life but very good characterisation.


Read By: The First Wednesday Book Group