Book review: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

The Narrow Road to the Deep NorthThe Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This is book is the winner of Man Booker Prize 2014 for fiction.

Opening lines:
Why at the beginning of things is there always light? Doris Evans’ memories were of sun flooding a church hall in which he sat with his mother and grandmother. A wooden church hall.

The book describes the life of a surgeon Dorrigo Evans while he was imprisoned in a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway.

He is haunted by a recent love affair with his uncle’s young wife two years ago.

In the meantime, we struggles to save his men under his command from the consequences of living under starvation, beatings, cholera and all the consequences suffered by the soldiers imprisoned during World War II.

The Burma death railway was constructed by prisoners-of-war and Asian slave labour in 1943.

Australian and British POWs lay track on the Burma-Thailand railway. Flanagan’s novel explores ideas of masculinity and war. Photograph: DVA Aus

The author was born in Tasmania and he wrote this book in tribute to his father, who survived the horrors of this “death railways:” between 100,000 and 200,000 people died building the Thai-Burma Death Railway, “more corpses than are words in my novel”.

Who doesn’t remember of the magnificent and unforgettable movie The Bridge on the River Kwai (1957) directed by David lean, with William Holden, Alec Guinness, Jack Hawkins?

This is one the best books I have read in 2014 and certainly can be considered as one my favorites books.


Nothing endures. Don’t you see, Bonox? That’s what Kipling meant. Not empires, not memories. WE remember nothing. Maybe for a year or two. Maybe most of a life, if we live. Maybe. But then w will die, and who will ever understand any of this?

Days and months are travelers of eternity, he read. So too the years that passes by.



The Guardian: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan review – beauty, bathos and brilliance in equal measure


6 thoughts on “Book review: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

  1. Pingback: Impac Dublin Literary Award 2015 | Pleasure of Reading

  2. Pingback: Man Booker Prize 2014: shortlist and winner for fiction | Pleasure of Reading

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