Slovene immigrants in Australia in Richard Flanagan's novel The sound of one hand clapping


  • Mirko Jurak



Australian literature / Literary themes / Slovene immigrants / History and criticism



The core of this article presents a structural and thematic analysis of a novel The Sound  of One Hand Clapping (1979) written by a contemporary Australian novelist Richard Flanagan (1961-). The novel deals mainly with the life of a Slovene family, which immigrated to Australia in 1954. The story centres on the life of the heroine, Sonja Bulah, who finds herself at the end of the 1980ies in a severe mental crisis. Besides, the author of this article uses information about immigrants' life in Australia obtained from reports and sketches of a Slovene psychiatrist who treated immigrants in Melbourne. The author of this paper also calls the reader's attention to various literary allusions, which appear in the novel (e.g. Eugene O'Neill, John Keats, W. B. Yeats). It also appears that Flanagan was under a strong spiritual influence of the Indian philosopher Osho(= Bhagwan Shree Rajneshi) and his meditations upon life as published in Osho's book bearing the same title as Flanagan's novel and which first appeared in 1981. The novel is particularly interesting for Slovene readers, because it uncovers the emotional and spiritual life of Slovene immigrants in Australia.


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1. 12. 2001




How to Cite

Jurak, M. (2001). Slovene immigrants in Australia in Richard Flanagan’s novel The sound of one hand clapping. Acta Neophilologica, 34(1-2), 17-29.