The Narrow Road to the Deep North

by Richard Flanagan

eBooks of the Month Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on The Narrow Road to the Deep North

One of our Books of the Year 2014.

Winner of The Man Booker Prize 2014.

This is the story of an Australian surgeon, Dorrigo Evans, a POW in a Japanese camp during World War II, working on the Thai-Burma railway.  It moves backwards and forwards in time as we learn of his life, his great love and the lives of his fellows, both captors and POWs.  It’s a bit confusing to start with but stick with it for it is a most magnificent, horrific, masterful book on the period.  The wartime atrocities are horrendous.  Dorrigo is sustained by the memory of an affair he had just before the war.  We move on to life after the war where Dorrigo needs a string of mistresses to block out the horror.  He is seen as a hero; he doesn’t feel like one.  This is not an easy read; it’s tough on the stomach but it is both impressive, disturbing and important...'.

Sarah Broadhurst

The Narrow Road to the Deep North Synopsis

Shortlisted for 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. Hailed as a masterpiece, Richard Flanagan's epic novel tells the unforgettable story of one man's reckoning with the truth.

The Good Book Guide Review

Dorrigo Evans is a man who is a victim of his times. A backwoods boy from Tasmania, he wins an academic scholarship that sets him on a course to becoming a provincial surgeon in mainland Australia and the cosy middle-class life, and wife, that goes with it. However, propinquity finds him having an affair with his uncle’s wife and the Second World War puts him on the Burma Railroad looking after the prisoners who are being used as slave labour on an engineering project that would prove the superiority of the Japanese over the British, who deemed such as project impossible. Evans confronts the cruel Colonel Kota on behalf of his men and somehow survives the war to become an unwitting war hero. Flanagan has written a remarkable book that brings home the barbarism and brutality of warfare, but also the betrayal that beckons us all.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North Press Reviews

A masterpiece ... an extraordinary piece of writing -- Michael Williams Guardian (Australia)


I loved this book. Not just a great novel but an important book in its ability to look at terrible things and create something beautiful. Everyone should read it. -- Evie Wyld a Granta Best of Young British Novelist


A huge novel, ambitious, driven, multi-stranded ... The novel's characters, Australian and Japanese, shimmer with life; they are familiar yet finally unknowable, compromised, betrayed, fallible and credible ... A grand, paradoxical dance that is both macabre and life affirming.  - Sydney Morning Herald

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780701189051
Publication date: 03/07/2014
Publisher: Chatto & Windus an imprint of Vintage
Format: Hardback

Book Information

ISBN: 9780701189051
Publication date: 3rd July 2014
Author: Richard Flanagan
Publisher: Chatto & Windus an imprint of Vintage
Format: Hardback
Genres: eBook Favourites, Literary Fiction,

About Richard Flanagan

Born in Tasmania in 1961, Richard Flanagan is one of Australia's leading novelists. His novels, Death of a River Guide, The Sound of One Hand Clapping, Gould's Book of Fish (winner of the Commonwealth Writers' Prize), The Unknown Terrorist and Wanting have received numerous honours and been published in 26 countries. His father, who died the day Flanagan finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway.

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