Narrow Road to the Deep North (Flanagan)

Book Reviews
[Flanagan] manages to convey with stomach-churning power the sheer awfulness of this chapter in World War II history…It is the story of Dorrigo, as one man among many P.O.W.'s in the Asian jungle, that is the beating heart of this book: an excruciating, terrifying, life-altering story that is an indelible fictional testament to the prisoners there. Taken by themselves, these chapters create a slim, compelling story: Odysseus's perseverance through a bloody war and his return home at last to Penelope (in this case, Ella) and his efforts, like his fellow soldiers', to see if he can put the horrors and suffering of war in the rearview mirror, and somehow construct a fulfilling Act II to a broken life.
Michiko Kakutani - New York Times


Flanagan has done something difficult here, creating a character [Dorrigo] who is at once vivid and shadowy…Flanagan manages…shifts in time and perspective with extraordinary skill. They're never confusing but they are dizzying, and demand the reader's full attention in a way that reminds me of Conrad. I suspect that on rereading, this magnificent novel will seem even more intricate, more carefully and beautifully constructed…Basho wrote that "Days and months are travelers of eternity," and Flanagan's book, like the poet's own, will push us far down that path. This Narrow Road to the Deep North is both unforgiving and generous, a paradox that should earn it some fame of its own.
Michael Gorra - New York Times Book Review


Nothing since Cormac McCarthy’s The Road has shaken me like this.... This is a classic work of war fiction from a world-class writer.
Ron Charles - Washington Post
 

An unforgettable story of men at war.... Flanagan’s prose is richly innovative and captures perfectly the Australian demotic of tough blokes, with their love of nicknames and excellent swearing. He evokes Evans’s affair with Amy, and his subsequent soulless wanderings, with an intensity and beauty that is as poetic as the classical Japanese literature that peppers this novel.
Times (London)


A devastatingly beautiful novel.
Sunday Times (London)


A novel of extraordinary power, deftly told and hugely affecting. A classic in the making.
Observer (UK)


A masterpiece.... A symphony of tenderness and love, a moving and powerful story that captures the weight and breadth of a life.
Guardian (UK)


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

A moving and necessary work of devastating humanity and lasting significance.
Seattle Times
 

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

The book Richard Flanagan was born to write.
Economist (UK)

[A] supple meditation on memory, trauma, and empathy that is also a sublime war novel. Initially, it is related through the reminiscences of Dorrigo Evans.... Yet it is Dorrigo’s Japanese adversary, Major Nakamura, Flanagan’s most conflicted and fully realized character, whose view of the war...comes to overshadow Dorrigo’s story.
Publishers Weekly


A literary war novel with a split personality, about a protagonist who loathes his dual character.... But the novel's deep flaw is a pivotal plot development that aims at the literary heights of Anna Karenina and Madame Bovary but sounds too often like a swoon-worthy bodice ripper.... [T]here's too much "her body was a poem beyond memorising" for the novel to fulfill its considerable ambition.
Kirkus Reviews

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