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The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Sarah Broadhurst's view...

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.

One of our Books of the Year 2014.

If you like Richard Flanagan you might also like to read books by Eric Lomax, Primo Levi and Stieg Larsson.

Who is Sarah Broadhurst

The Good Book Guide logo The Good Book Guide Review. Dorrigo Evans is a victim of his times. A backwoods boy from Tas-mania, he wins an academic scholarship that sets him on a course to becoming a provincial surgeon in mainland Australia and the 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 Good Book Guide


The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

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

One of our Books of the Year 2014.

Browse inside this book


'Some years, very good books win the Man Booker Prize but this year a masterpiece has won it' A.C. Grayling, Chair of Judges, Man Booker Prize 2014

'Flanagan is a fine writer and through the voices of a broad cast of characters, he takes us deep into the secret heat of the war... In less capable hands these scenes might be mawkish; Flanagan imbues them with extraordinary power... A novel of extraordinary power, deftly told and hugely affecting. A classic in the making... Masterful' -- Alex Preston The Observer

'Elegantly wrought, measured and without an ounce of melodrama, Flanagan's novel is nothing short of a masterpiece' Financial Times

'The poetry in this novel isn't just by Japanese poets. It is in the prose: strong, muscular, rhythmic, sometimes biblical in its resonances, and charged with a hypnotic power... devastatingly beautiful' -- Christina Patterson The Sunday Times

'Nothing could have prepared us for this immense achievement... The Narrow Road to the Deep North is beyond comparison... Intensely moving' The Australian

About the Author

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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Book Info

Publication date

26th March 2015


Richard Flanagan

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Vintage an imprint of Vintage Publishing


464 pages


Literary Fiction
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Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945)



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