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Richard Flanagan's story — of Dorrigo Evans, an Australian doctor haunted by a love affair with his uncle's wife — journeys from the caves of Tasmanian trappers in the early twentieth century to a crumbling pre-war beachside hotel, from a Thai jungle prison to a Japanese snow festival, from the Changi gallows to a chance meeting of lovers on the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
Taking its title from 17th-century haiku poet Basho's travel journal, The Narrow Road To The Deep North is about the impossibility of love. At its heart is one day in a Japanese slave labour camp in August 1943. As the day builds to its horrific climax, Dorrigo Evans battles and fails in his quest to save the lives of his fellow POWs, a man is killed for no reason, and a love story unfolds.
This book... Where do I even start?
The Narrow Road to the Deep North had such a profound impact on me. I often had to stop mid-sentence and contemplate everything; this book, people, life. I didn't even realise at first that it had drawn me in so deeply, but when I finished I was catatonic.
Richard Flanagan is extremely talented. He has such a way with words - his style is so unassuming, but then I find myself needing to take a step back from the book and just breathe for a moment. Every single character is illustrated so vividly, and in such a short amount of time, that I found myself empathising with people that seem to have no sense of humanity.
Stunning. Absolutely stunning. One of the best books I have read.