The Narrow Road to the Deep North

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

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In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thailand-Burma Death Railway in 1943, Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is haunted by his love affair with his uncle's young wife two years earlier. His life is a daily struggle to save the men under his command from starvation, from cholera, from pitiless beatings--until he receives a letter that will change him forever. Moving deftly from the POW camp to contemporary Australia, from the experiences of Dorrigo and his comrades to those of the Japanese guards, this savagely beautiful novel tells a story of death, love, and family, exploring the many forms of good and evil, war and truth, guilt and transcendence, as one man comes of age and prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.
Publisher: Minnetonka, Minnesota : Hennepin County Library
ISBN: 9780804171472
0804171475
Characteristics: 1 book club kit

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From Library Staff

An outstanding review led me to this novel which won the Man Booker Prize. I am thankful I had the audiobook as I could fast forward a few extremely horrifying scenes involving beheadings. The story revolves around a complex Australian surgeon named Dorrigo Evans who leads Australian POWs in thei... Read More »


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y
yo918
Sep 26, 2017

Not sure why this author is so "celebrated" and wins so many awards. Because he's from Tasmania, therefore "exotic" and unusual? This was the second book of his I tried to read...I say "tried" because I just couldn't stick with it, ended up giving up after less than 50 pages. I thought I'd give this a try, being about a subject that has always fascinated me, POWs and how WWII had so many things that could have easily been called "war crimes". Yet only one side ever seemed to get called to account for it, as always. But this...I have to agree with at least one other person here...pretentious and over-written doesn't even begin to describe it. Cormac McCarthy clones are a dime a dozen it seems, and very few can pull it off. Including this guy, in my opinion anyhow.

s
Ssaaddy
Jun 11, 2017

Did not enjoy this book at all. Found it overwritten, pretentious and the descriptions of the woman just comical, maybe because I don' t have wondrous nipples. The protagonist, DorrIgo Evans stumps around like a YA hero. Enough said, just simply bad

c
cshamm1
May 17, 2017

I enjoyed the book but not more than 3.5 stars. The biggest shortcoming was the main character. Without giving too much away, he's a tortured soul without a good reason. He leads an easier life than almost any other character. In fact, several characters are more interesting and more compelling than the protagonist, which is definitely a flaw in a book that's otherwise pretty good.

m
mantecond
May 07, 2017

I am a book connosieur and this is one of the best books I have ever read! An historical fiction about the Burma Thai death railway, but so much more! Complex details of lives on both sides of the POW Japanese camps, the Australian prisoners, the Japanese guards, a mesmerizing book I didn't want to end :(

p
Pisinga
Jan 16, 2017

The first 7-10 pages of the book are a bit confusing. But then - in the book there are "Love in the Time of Cholera", and the unbearable suffering of people in captivity, and description about capability of human been endure all the suffering. Thoughts about the senselessness of suffering, the search for justification of crimes with the sense of duty, loyalty to conjugal life, a passion, and that, in the end, everything and everyone will go into oblivion. An impressive book.

e
elaxminn
Dec 30, 2016

An excellent novel that is riveting from the first page to the last. On one level it's about a horrific world war 2 POW experience and how that affects everyone involved for the rest of their lives. On another level it is about the evolution of the characters view of the world, and how they evolve throughout the rest of their lives.

b
becker
Oct 09, 2016

A densely written, emotionally demanding read, but worth every page. What a powerful story.

j
Jeanneknits2
Jul 31, 2016

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a difficult book to read. The depiction of the POWs building the Siam/Burma railway and enduring the sadistic cruelties of their Japanese guards is heart-wrenching. It brought me to tears more than once. I found the beginning of the book confusing and it took several tries to get into it. But, an extremely worthwhile read non the less.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 04, 2016

The Narrow Road... contains some of the most beautiful and poignant war writing I have ever read. Although its focus is on Australian prisoners of war during WWII, the novel tells both sides of the war with comparative heart. As a complete work The Narrow Road... mirrors an epic tale, but it is in the tender and mesmerizing vignettes Flanagan uses to tell the whole story that the novel is its strongest.

u
uncommonreader
Apr 14, 2016

Dedicated to his father, who was a POW on the Thai-Burma Death Railway, this novel tells two contrasting stories. The narrative about the building of the railway is harrowing and the characters are authentic; this story makes the book worth reading. I also liked the parallel poetry throughout - haikus and Tennyson. However, the story of the love affair between the doctor and his uncle's wife was stilted and seemed to be based only on lust. It did not succeed in contrasting the war and peace aspects of the novel. Although Flanagan won the Man Booker prize for this novel, in many ways it disappointed.

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Ssaaddy
Jun 11, 2017

He found her nipples wondrous.

TSCPL_ChrisB Jun 06, 2016

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

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