***WINNER OF THE MAN BOOKER PRIZE 2014***
Forever after, there were for them only two sorts of men: the men who were on the Line, and the rest of humanity, who were not.
In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway, surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years earlier. Struggling to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from beatings, he receives a letter that will change his life forever.
This is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.
APPLE BOOKS REVIEW
Australian author Richard Flanagan won the 2014 Man Booker Prize for his sixth novel—which takes its name from a landmark book by a 17th-century Japanese poet. The Narrow Road to the Deep North follows Dorrigo Evans, an Australian medical officer forced to help build the so-called “Death Railway”—several hundred miles of track carved through the Thai and Burmese jungles. With luminous prose, harrowing detail and telling flashbacks, the celebrated Tasmanian author captures the emotional and physical stakes of daily life in a Japanese POW camp. The result is a powerful story of love, death and survival.
From bestselling Australian writer Flanagan (Gould's Book of Fish) comes a supple meditation on memory, trauma, and empathy that is also a sublime war novel. Initially, it is related through the reminiscences of Dorrigo Evans, a 77-year-old surgeon raised in Tasmania whose life has been filtered through two catastrophic events: the illicit love affair he embarked on with Amy Mulvaney, his uncle's wife, as a young recruit in the Australian corps and his WWII capture by the Japanese after the fall of Singapore. Most of the novel recounts Dorrigo's experience as a POW in the Burmese jungle on the "speedo," horrific work sessions on the "Death Railway" that leave most of his friends dead from dysentery, starvation, or violence. While Amy, with the rest of the world, believes him dead, Dorrigo's only respite comes from the friends he tries to keep healthy and sane, fellow sufferers such as Darky Gardiner, Lizard Brancussi, and Rooster MacNiece. Yet it is Dorrigo's Japanese adversary, Major Nakamura, Flanagan's most conflicted and fully realized character, whose view of the war and struggles with the Emperor's will and his own postwar fate comes to overshadow Dorrigo's story, especially in the novel's bracing second half. Pellucid, epic, and sincerely touching in its treatment of death, this is a powerful novel. 50,000-copy first printing.
Customer ReviewsSee All
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
A tale of lives defined by love and the horrors of the prisoner of war camps, of lives thrown together by forces beyond their control, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, is a story of life in total war. Without condoning, Richard Flanagan brings understanding to each character and their actions adding life and colour to the scenes of war time Australia and the Burma Railway in a story that clearly demonstrating the horrors and futility of total war. This story, of a time in our history, casts a light on the complex psychologies of motivations and belief behind the horrors that fill our headlines today.
Haunting, painful .... annoying
All of my life I have known of the Burma railway. The facts the detail. This novel makes you feel the horror truly, it gives psychological depth. As such, it was painful to read, I could only take it in short bursts. It is also annoying that having read through horror I really wanted a novel type happy ending or a positive note. No, the grim and tragic realism continues.
A very good read but not a light holiday read. It will remain with the reader
An epic. A classic. A wonderful story full of honesty about what it is to be human. It is full of pain and raw emotion in many forms; not for the faint hearted,I cried once or twice for people who weren't real but who did exist and who did experience the horrors here told. Read it! You won't regret the commitment.