The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Author: Richard Flanagan
Published August 12, 2014 by Knopf
Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2014
Dorrigo Evans, an Australian surgeon, battles to save prisoners of war in 1943 while being haunted by a love affair with his uncle’s wife, Amy Mulvaney. A WWII novel that explores the brutal point of view of the soldiers. There is a continuous fight between good and evil in this novel, and it will keep you thinking.
I will begin by saying that this novel does not have quotation marks to indicate dialogue. It takes a second to get used to, but I didn’t find it to be a huge issue. I understand how it could be difficult for readers, but there is always an audio book you can listen to.
When a novel wins an award such as the Man Booker Prize, I tend to find myself feeling pressured to enjoy the book. I tried reading Lincoln in the Bardo by George Saunders, and I honestly didn’t understand it. I figured this would be the same case . . . Wrong! I’m not going to lie and say that this book was a breeze to get through, but I enjoyed my time reading it. I want everyone to know that you should never put pressure on yourself when it comes to reading. It should be enjoyable, and if you find it becoming a chore, then there is something wrong.
Anyway, the writing in this novel is well done. I didn’t, however, like how the dialogue was short and choppy, but it didn’t deter me from reading it. There were so many fantastic quotes that I found throughout the book that I had to save!
The characters are quite notable. You always question whether someone is cruel or if they are pressured by war. At the end of the book, you learn more about what happens after the war is over. The ending was probably my favorite part of the novel because you learn so much about the characters you may have hated throughout the whole story. It shows a toll something like war will take on a person. It’s heartbreaking and callous.
If you are thinking about giving this a shot, go for it! I do recommend it for people who like war/WWII novels. It has a little more blood and gore in it than most war novels I have read, and it made it stand out from the rest.
“They had come to believe that to abandon one man was to abandon themselves.”
“Life was only about getting the next footstep right.”
“Love is shared with others or it dies.”
“There is a pattern and structure to all things. Only we can’t see it. Our job is to discover that pattern and structure and work within it, as part of it.”
“You could go to war with the world, but the world would always win.”
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