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The Narrow Road to the Deep North by [Flanagan, Richard]
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The Narrow Road to the Deep North Kindle Edition

4.2 out of 5 stars 233 customer reviews

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Length: 416 pages Word Wise: Enabled Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
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Product Description

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2014. A novel of the cruelty of war, 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.

'The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a big, magnificent novel of passion and horror and tragic irony. Its scope, its themes and its people all seem to grow richer and deeper in significance with the progress of the story, as it moves to its extraordinary resolution. It's by far the best new novel I've read in ages.' - Patrick McGrath

'Magnificent.' -- Michael Gorra, The New York Times

'Beyond comparison . . . an immense achievement . . . Wilfred Owen wrote of his Great War verse: "My subject is war, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity." Flanagan's triumph is to find poetry without any pity at all.' - Geordie Williamson, The Australian

'A story of war and star-crossed lovers, the novel is also a profound meditation on life and time, memory and forgetting . . . a magnificent achievement.' - Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser

'A masterpiece . . . The Narrow Road is an extraordinary piece of writing and a high point in an already distinguished career.' - Michael Williams, The Guardian

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 1122 KB
  • Print Length: 416 pages
  • Publisher: RHA eBooks Adult (23 September 2013)
  • Sold by: Random House Australia
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00DBOF5Q6
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Screen Reader: Supported
  • Enhanced Typesetting: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.2 out of 5 stars 233 customer reviews
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #1,379 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)

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Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

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A historical narrative that takes the reader on a journey that plumbs the depths of depths of cultural belief and depraved behaviours aspired through blind obedience. A master wordsmith who leads the reader along a path of human suffering, love, compassion and resilience. However, Flanagan does not leave the reader at the demob train station or wharf. But takes us along the lived post war roads and the impact of these experiences on the next generation.
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Although he wasn't there, Flanagan brings the story of the Camps, the men and their families into harrowing detail. The presentation of his research makes for continuing surprises and gives the reader empathy with all of the many characters. This is by far the best book I've read this year.
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This novel shares its title with a poetic travelogue by the 17th century haiku poet Matsuo Basho which was published in 1694. In many respects, the journey undertaken by Matsuo Basho is very different from that undertaken by Dorrigo Evans in this novel. Matsuo Basho is largely focussed on the beauty of the world around him, whereas Dorrigo Evans's odyssey is of evolving self, and place.

`A happy man has no past, while an unhappy man has nothing else.'

Dorrigo Evans is the central character in Richard Flanagan's novel. His story moves in place and time, between different aspects of his lives in a way that made me think about the kind of man Dorrigo Evans was, and about how complex humans can be. The core of the story, and of Evans's heroism, is about his experiences as a doctor in a prisoner of war camp on the infamous Thai-Burma railway during World War II. Evans loves literature, and especially Tennyson's `Ulysses' which he reads and rereads. Evans's memories are triggered by writing a foreword for a collection of sketches done by one of the men (Guy `Rabbit' Hendricks) who did not survive the camp. We read Dorrigo Evans's memories of the camp together with his childhood in Tasmania, his life in Melbourne, and his posting to Adelaide where he has an affair with his Uncle Keith's much younger wife, Amy. Although Evans becomes engaged to the conventional Ella before being posted overseas, it is his affair with Amy that sustains him through his camp experiences. We are not spared from graphic descriptions of the physical consequences of life in the camps: malnutrition, minimal hygiene and physical brutality are all covered. But in all the squalor and hardship, pain and suffering, there are men who try to support each other.
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I was pretty surprised after reading this novel, that I wanted to enjoy so much, how much I felt let down. I thought most of the characters were pretty 2 dimensional, the story truncated, and not in a good 'Hemmingwayesque' style as I heard Richard himself employ the phrase (or something like it), when explaining it's 'sparseness' at a literary lunch in Sydney, and I was left feeling very much in the need to reread Richards' fellow Tasmanian author Christopher Koch's 'Highways To A War', which was so much more 'full' than that of 'The Narrow Road to the Deep North'. Funnily enough, I bet Christopher Koch would give me a damn good dressing down for my ignorant ramblings of a work from his fellow novelist. I don't like to 'criticise' generally, but I really feel this book of Richard Flanagans, with all it's personal history for him, which is apparent, & deserves respect, doesn't quite measure up to the hype that has come with it. I'm truly sorry, as I expected to be more 'moved'.
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It is one of those few books that made me stop reading, mid sentence, and toss it away for a while, just so I can have a minute to compose my thoughts. Just because I think the book is one of the very few books you can say are great. Wonderful.
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By Robert Scott TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 2 January 2015
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
Author is outstanding with his word pictures, however, this book is a jumbled mess and hard to read.
The storyline structure has no discipline as it jumps over a number of time periods many times in one chapter.
The story being based around soldiers working on the Burma railway goes into page after page of graphic descriptions of one person dying and seems to be trying to shock the reader, but it is just boring (there are many better non-fiction books about this matter). The books main character seems an impossibility in real life as he is portrayed as a hopeless self loather yet highly successful as a leader of men and in medicine (these two personalities NEVER exist in the real world).
Kept reading it to the end as it won international acclaim - for me, a BIG disappointment.
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By Susan from Perth TOP 1000 REVIEWER on 23 April 2014
Format: Kindle Edition
Could not put this deeply mournful book down. I have finished it appropriately, 2 days prior to Anzac Day. Not only does it illuminate the tragedies that were wrought upon young Australian men, captured by the Imperial Japanese forces, it paints a sad picture of those trying to capture love, family and life, after the horrors of any war. Highly recommended.
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This is the book every Australian should read. I read a hard copy several months ago but bought the ebook so I can take it with me and dip into it whenever I need reminding about the best of the Australian spirit. It made me so sad at times and kept me reading until dawn.
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