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The Narrow Road to the Deep North : Longlisted for the 2014 Miles Franklin Award - Richard Flanagan

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Longlisted for the 2014 Miles Franklin Award

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Published: 23rd September 2013
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Published: 18th September 2013
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A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian 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 savagely beautiful novel 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.

Read Caroline Baum Review

When Richard Flanagan produces a new book, you know it will come freighted with Big Themes. As an essayist, Flanagan is political, provocative, passionate. As a novelist, he is capable of shape-shifting across genres, from high literary gothic to popular psychological thriller.

His latest novel is as eloquent and powerful an affirmation of his empathy and understanding of humanity as anything he's ever written. An elegy to the men of the Thai Burma railroad and their Japanese masters, it's a book about so many things: brutality, barbarity, tenderness, regret, heroism, friendship, betrayal, the manufacturing of national heroism and the mythologizing of one man as a symbol for a nation's pain and pride.

Basing his central character Dorrigo Evans on that of legendary war hero and surgeon Weary Dunlop is a bold move, Dunlop is a sacrosanct figure in Australia's war narrative, an untouchable icon of sacrifice, honour, resilience and courage.

Evans is flawed, with a weakness for women in general and one woman in particular, allowing Flanagan to contrast the prisoner-of-war chapters with flashbacks to moments of stolen intimacy for some relief from the relentless sadism and degradation.

PS the new Colin Firth film, The Railway Man seems to explore similar territory. The two might make interesting, if harrowing, companions.

About the Author

Richard Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961. His novels, Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould's Book of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist, and Wanting have received numerous honours and are published in twenty-six countries. He directed a feature film version of The Sound of One Hand Clapping. A collection of his essays is published as And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?.

REVIEW SNAPSHOT®

by PowerReviews
The Narrow Road to the Deep North
 
4.9

(based on 7 reviews)

Ratings Distribution

  • 5 Stars

     

    (6)

  • 4 Stars

     

    (1)

  • 3 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 2 Stars

     

    (0)

  • 1 Stars

     

    (0)

100%

of respondents would recommend this to a friend.

Pros

  • Engaging characters (6)
  • Well written (6)
  • Page-turner (5)
  • Easy to read (4)
  • Deserves multiple readings (3)

Cons

    Best Uses

    • Older readers (4)
    • Gift (3)
    • Travel reading (3)
      • Reviewer Profile:
      • Everyday reader (5)

    Reviewed by 7 customers

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    4.0

    Australian history revealed

    By Ms CDL

    from Melbourne AU

    About Me Everyday Reader

    Verified Buyer

    Pros

    • Easy To Read
    • Engaging characters
    • Informative
    • Page-Turner
    • Well Written

    Cons

      Best Uses

      • Gift
      • Travel Reading

      Comments about The Narrow Road to the Deep North:

      This was a fantastic book, the main character is despisable and likeable all at once. The setting of a time in Australia's history was informative and I learnt more about our history by reading this book. Underlying is the theme of the human condition and all its permeations that made this book un put downable!

      Comment on this review

       
      5.0

      Great read.

      By Fiona

      from Sunshine Coast

      About Me Bookworm

      Pros

      • Easy To Read
      • Engaging characters
      • Page-Turner
      • Well Written

      Cons

        Best Uses

          Comments about The Narrow Road to the Deep North:

          Very engaging read.
          Made me think very hard about POW's and what they experienced and try to fathom how they adjusted when they got home. These men are hero's.
          I recommend this book to all Australians.

          Comment on this review

          (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          Couldn't put it down - best read for age

          By I don't have a nickname

          from Rural Sydney

          About Me Everyday Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Easy To Read
          • Engaging characters
          • Page-Turner

          Cons

          • Need Your Tissues In Part
          • Not One For The Teens

          Best Uses

          • A Lazy Day And This Book
          • Older Readers
          • Travel Reading

          Comments about The Narrow Road to the Deep North:

          There is no happy end - just a terrific read all the way through.

          Comment on this review

          (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

           
          5.0

          An Australian classic

          By Cooky

          from Wollongong

          About Me Everyday Reader

          Verified Buyer

          Pros

          • Deserves Multiple Readings
          • Engaging characters
          • Informative
          • Well Written

          Cons

            Best Uses

              Comments about The Narrow Road to the Deep North:

              Flanagan's novel opens up Australia's POW experiences in WW2 in a heartbreaking and vivid drama. The impact on our soldiers during and after comes to life in an unforgettable form.

              Comment on this review

              (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

               
              5.0

              page turner

              By loonette

              from melbourne au

              About Me Casual Reader

              Verified Buyer

              Pros

              • Engaging characters
              • Page-Turner
              • Well Written

              Cons

                Best Uses

                • Older Readers

                Comments about The Narrow Road to the Deep North:

                Just new to ordering on your site. I have found service excellant

                Comment on this review

                (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                 
                5.0

                An inspirational book.

                By Constant Reader

                from Brisbane

                About Me Everyday Reader

                Verified Buyer

                Pros

                • Deserves Multiple Readings
                • Easy To Read
                • Engaging characters
                • Informative
                • Page-Turner
                • Well Written

                Cons

                  Best Uses

                  • Gift
                  • Older Readers

                  Comments about The Narrow Road to the Deep North:

                  One of the best books I have read. Beautiful writing from a masterful story-teller. I was moved to tears and gasped in amazement, both at the horrors depicted and the beauty of the prose. I have no hesitation in recommending this book.

                  Comment on this review

                  (0 of 1 customers found this review helpful)

                   
                  5.0

                  Addictive Read

                  By All round reader M

                  from Brunswick East AU

                  About Me Everyday Reader

                  Verified Buyer

                  Pros

                  • Deserves Multiple Readings
                  • Well Written

                  Cons

                    Best Uses

                    • Gift
                    • Older Readers
                    • Travel Reading

                    Comments about The Narrow Road to the Deep North:

                    One of the most engaging reads that time passes without notice.... would highly recommend this book and writer to all ages......

                    Comment on this review

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                    'Richard Flanagan is one of the most exciting novelists working anywhere, full stop.' - The Age

                     'Flanagan can stop a reader's breath.' - Los Angeles Times

                     'Mr Flanagan is a master of sleight of hand, adept at using words to conjure worlds, an indefatigable artist.' - The New York Times

                    ISBN: 9781741666700
                    ISBN-10: 1741666708
                    Audience: General
                    Format: Paperback
                    Language: English
                    Number Of Pages: 480
                    Published: 23rd September 2013
                    Publisher: Random House Australia
                    Dimensions (cm): 23.1 x 15.5  x 3.8
                    Weight (kg): 0.63