28 October 2014

Review: THE NARROW ROAD TO THE DEEP NORTH, Richard Flanagan - audio book

 Synopsis (Audible)

A novel of the cruelty of war, and 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.

My Take

To be quite honest I didn't take too much to Richard Flanagan as a narrator. His voice tends to be a rather flat, perhaps deliberately so, and almost monotonous. Perhaps he felt a professional narrator would not do it justice, but I actually think he has done his book an injustice. However I guess in the final scheme of things that is quite minor.

This novel has recently won the Man Booker prize of 2014.
It has already won
2014 Western Australia Premier's Book Award
2014 WA Premier's Book Award - Fiction
2014 Independant Booksellers Award
- See more at: http://www.randomhouse.com.au/books/richard-flanagan/the-narrow-road-to-the-deep-north-9781741666700.aspx#sthash.5bl5bHrC.dpuf
2014 Western Australia Premier's Book Award;
2014 WA Premier's Book Award - Fiction;
2014 Independent Booksellers Award;

There are many issues that will make this a perfect discussion book - the way Australian P.O.Ws and others were treated on the construction of the Burma Railway, the reluctance of Dorrigo Evans to see himself as a hero, the treatment of refugees, the nature of the relationship between Dorrigo Evans and the women in his life.
There is a set of questions on the publisher's site. There is also a chapter to whet your appetite, and an interview with Richard Flanagan.

Other reviews
For me the story was made more meaningful by my knowledge of World War II, but also because I have been to the Burma Railway, to Hellfire Pass, and the bridge over the River Kwai.

My rating: 4.7

I chose to read this book because it is not crime fiction, as part of my participation in the 2014 Aussie Author reading challenge. This completes for me the requirements of the challenge.

1 comment:

Margot Kinberg said...

Kerrie - Interesting isn't it how the narration can make such a difference. I've been hearing so much about this book, even before the awards. Glad you thought it a good story.

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