The Narrow Road to the Deep North: A novel

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Ostensibly a WWII story about the building of the Thai-Burma death railway, it is also the story of Dr. Dorrigo Evans, an Australian surgeon and about his love affair with his Uncle’s wife. The story weaves in and out of wartime, the present and the past. Dorrigo and his Uncle’s wife, Amy meet by chance – and in this story chance is a major character. Who lives and dies in wartime is arbitrary and pitiless. Just as the marriage that Evans is destined to make and the letter that changes his destiny and ends his love affair. The love story is but a side note to the very powerful story of the horrific conditions for Japanese prisoners of war. Forced to labor in jungle monsoons and endure cholera, ulcers, starvation and beatings, somehow Evans accepts the brutality that he endures and bargains with his captors to mitigate suffering as he can. The scenes of surgery and ulcer treatment under these conditions will stay with the reader for a while.

The author’s father actually worked on the bridge and has described many of the conditions in this novel. This novel has won the 2014 Man Booker Prize – and deservedly so.


Reviewed By:

Author Richard Flanagan
Star Count 5/5
Format Hard
Page Count 334 pages
Publisher Knopf
Publish Date 2014-Aug-12
ISBN 9780385352857
Amazon Buy this Book
Issue January 2015
Category Modern Literature
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