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Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2014. A novel of the cruelty of war, tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

Winner of the Man Booker Prize 2014. A novel of the cruelty of war, 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.

'The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a big, magnificent novel of passion and horror and tragic irony. Its scope, its themes and its people all seem to grow richer and deeper in significance with the progress of the story, as it moves to its extraordinary resolution. It's by far the best new novel I've read in ages.' - Patrick McGrath

'Beyond comparison . . . an immense achievement . . . Wilfred Owen wrote of his Great War verse: "My subject is war, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity." Flanagan's triumph is to find poetry without any pity at all.' - Geordie Williamson, The Australian

‘A story of war and star-crossed lovers, the novel is also a profound meditation on life and time, memory and forgetting . . . a magnificent achievement.’ - Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser

'A masterpiece . . . The Narrow Road is an extraordinary piece of writing and a high point in an already distinguished career.' - Michael Williams, The Guardian

Reviews

This is the book that Richard Flanagan was born to write, and which now takes its place in the canon of world literature. The two great themes from the origin of literature are love and war: this is a magnificent novel of love and war. Written in prose of extraordinary elegance and force, it bridges East and West, past and present, with a story of guilt and heroism. Some years, very good books win the Man Booker Prize but this year a masterpiece has won it.

A.C. Grayling, Chair of Judges, Man Booker Prize 2014

Considered by many to be the finest Australian novelist of his generation... A journey of loss and discovery, this is a novel replete with scenes that stay with the reader long after the final page. In clear prose that is never sentimental or overwritten, Mr Flanagan explores human reactions, large and small. The Narrow Road to the Deep North was the book Mr Flanagan was born to write.

The Economist

"Nothing could have prepared us for this immense achievement...The Narrow Road to the Deep North is beyond comparison...Intensely moving...Wilfred Owen wrote of his Great War verse: “My subject is war, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity.” Flanagan's triumph is to find poetry without any pity at all.

Geordie Williamson, The Australian

A story of war and star-crossed lovers, the novel is also a profound meditation on life and time, memory and forgetting . . . a magnificent achievement.

Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser

Profound . . . It’s not just the big characters, but also the minor ones who strike their perfect notes.

Herald Sun (Melbourne)

It is a huge novel, ambitious, driven, multi-stranded . . . The novel's fictional characters, Australian and Japanese, shimmer with life; they are familiar yet finally unknowable, compromised, betrayed, fallible and credible . . . A grand, paradoxical dance that is both macabre and life affirming.

Morag Fraser, The Sydney Morning Herald

A masterpiece...A symphony of tenderness and love, a moving and powerful story that captures the weight and breadth of a live. A Narrow Road is an extraordinary piece of writing and a high point in an already distinguished career

Michael Williams, The Guardian

Flanagan's prose is richly innovative...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.

Melissa Katsoulis, The Times (London)

Despite the novel’s epic sprawl it retains the delicate vignettes that characterise Flanagan’s work, those beautiful brush strokes of poignancy and veracity that remain in the reader’s mind long afterwards.

The West Australian

Richard Flanagan is an extraordinary writer and this sixth novel is a masterpiece.

Australian Women’s Weekly

The opposing emotions of love and hate are brilliantly drawn together here by Flanagan in this, his sixth novel. Detailing human suffering and fellow feeling here is a work of extraordinary depth and Flanagan at his best.

Martin Stevenson, Launceston Examiner, TAS

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

Alex Preston, The Observer

There isn't a dud note in Richard Flanagan's Homeric new novel...Flanagan's feel for language, history's persistant undercurrent, and subtle detail sets his fiction apart. There isn't a false note in this book...A storyteller's work of art

Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

A masterly novel. A tour de force

Viv Groskop, BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review

A supple meditation on memory, trauma, and empathy that is also a sublime war novel...Pellucid, epic, and sincerely touching

Publishers Weekly

Flanagan is an outstanding writer. A beauty clings to the underneath of his sentences, even when he is describing hell on earth. It's a big, difficult, absorbing and wise novel, lightly told and hard to forget

Claire Alfree, Metro

The luminous imagination of Richard Flanagan is among the most precious of Australian literary treasures.

Michael Byrne, Newcastle Herald

In an already sparkling career (few novels get as close to perfection as Wanting), this might be his biggest, best, most moving work yet.

Daniel Herborn, Sun Herald/Sydney Morning Herald (Morag Fraser The Age)

Flanagan's novel (has) grace and unfathomability. Flanagan's writing courses like a river, sometimes black with mud, sludge and corpses, sometimes bright with moonlight. The stories of these casualties of fate catch at the soul

Catherine Taylor, The Telegraph (London)

Homeric…Flanagan’s feel for language, history’s persistent undercurrent, and subtle details sets his fiction apart. There isn’t a false note in this book.

Eileen Battersby, The Irish Times

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a big, magnificent novel of passion and horror and tragic irony. Its scope, its themes and its people all seem to grow richer and deeper in significance with the progress of the story, as it moves to its extraordinary resolution. It's by far the best new novel I've read in ages.

Patrick McGrath, author of Constance

A bold, formal and traditional narrative in the tradition of Patrick White's fiction, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, a powerful war novel by the Tasmanian-born Flanagan, is one of the finest novels published in English this year

Eileen Battersby, Irish Times

The poetry in this novel isn't just by Japanese poets. It is in the prose: strong, muscular, rhythmic, sometimes biblical in its resonances, and charged with a hypnotic power...Flanagan's father (a survivor of the Death Railway) died on the day this devastatingly beautiful novel was published. His son could not have done him a greater honour

Christina Patterson, The Sunday Times

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Formats & editions

  • Paperback

    9780857980366

    October 15, 2014

    Vintage Australia

    480 pages

    RRP $26.00

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
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  • Hardback

    9780857987921

    December 1, 2014

    Knopf Australia

    RRP $53.00

    Online retailers

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    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

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  • Trade Paperback

    9781741666700

    September 23, 2013

    Vintage Australia

    RRP $37.99

    Online retailers

    • Fishpond
    • Mighty Ape
    • Paper Plus
    • The Warehouse
    • Whitcoulls
    • The Nile
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

  • EBook

    9781742756394

    September 23, 2013

    RHA eBooks Adult

    480 pages

    Online retailers

    • iBooks NZ
    • Amazon Kindle
    • Google Play
    • Kobo
    • Booktopia NZ
    Or

    Find your local bookstore at www.booksellers.co.nz/directory

Article
Richard Flanagan Reading Notes

The Narrow Road to the Deep North – an inspired book club selection.

Awards and Recognition

  • Man Booker Prize
    2014
    Winner
    Man Booker Prize
  • Prime Minister's Literary Award
    2014
    Joint winner
    Prime Minister's Literary Award
  • Queensland Literary Awards
    2014
    Winner
    University of Queensland Fiction Book Award
  • The Indie Awards
    2014
    Winner
    Independent Booksellers Award
  • Western Australian Premier's Book Awards
    2014
    Winner
    Western Australia Premier's Book Award
  • Colin Roderick Award
    2014
    Shortlisted
    Colin Roderick Award
  • NSW Premier's Literary Awards
    2014
    Shortlisted
    Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
  • Margaret Scott Prize
    2015
    Winner
    Margaret Scott Prize - Tasmanian Premier's Literary Prizes
  • International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
    2015
    Shortlisted
    International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award
  • Tasmania Book Prize
    2015
    Longlisted
    Tamania Book Prize - Premier's Literary Prizes

Also by Richard Flanagan

First Person
Notes on an Exodus
The Australian Disease: On the Decline of Love and the Rise of Non-Freedom: Short Black 1
The Great Australian Writers' Collection 2013
Out of a Wild Sea
Out of a Wild Sea (Storycuts)
The Sound Of One Hand Clapping
Gould's Book Of Fish
Death Of A River Guide
The Unknown Terrorist
And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?
Wanting

Recommendations

The Handmaid's Tale
To Kill A Mockingbird
Echo Burning
A Gentleman in Moscow
Best Laid Plans
Fool Me Once
The Golden House
The Girl on the Train
The Heart's Invisible Furies
Voyager
Swing Time
The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-time
The Wardrobe Mistress
The Girls
Cold Blood
Fifty Shades Darker
The Trip of a Lifetime
Colombiano
The Light Between Oceans
Ready Player One