Nominated by:

The State Library of South Australia, Adelaide

The State Library of Queensland, Brisbane, Australia

The National Library of Australia, Canberra

The State Library of New South Wales, Sydney, Australia

Publisher of nominated edition:

Vintage Australia, Knopf Australia

Also published by Penguin Random House, UK

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Richard Flanagan      

2015 Shortlist

Judges’ Comments

Extended story of captured Tasmanian soldiers forced to work on the notorious Burma railroad in the Second World War. A wonderfully laconic, hard-bitten, set of inside stories – the layered lives and minds of vicious Japanese captors as well, of course, as of the harshly victimized, traumatized, starved, beaten, killed off, Commonwealth soldiery; all focussed around the believably complex, messed-up even, Tennyson-obsessivemedic Dorrigo Evans. Ghoulishly arresting cinematic scenes of torture and bodily violence, as well as of heroically ad hoc primitive surgery, suture together some serious revelations about human staunchnesses and treacheries in almost unthinkably adverse circumstances. A long fiction – almost unstoppably long – impressively unsettled about a grimly unsettling phase of modern warfare.

About the Book

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.

(From Publisher)

About the Author

Richard Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961. His novels, Death Of A River Guide, The Sound Of One Hand Clapping, Gould’s Book Of Fish, The Unknown Terrorist, and Wanting have received numerous honours and are published in twenty-six countries. He directed a feature film version of The Sound Of One Hand Clapping. A collection of his essays is published as And What Do You Do, Mr Gable?. His most recent novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was published in 2013 to great acclaim.

Librarians’ Comments

A beautifully sad tale of a man who fell in love, but was sent to war, and in the end, taken prisoner. The story describes what he had to endure and follows his post war life and that of his Japanese captors.
This novel is an extraordinary study of beauty and brutality. Beautifully written, The Narrow Road to the Deep North explores the many forms of war, love, memory and loss.

Richard Flanagan’s sixth novel is a griping novel set in 1943, in a Japanese prisoner of war camp on the Thai-Burma railway. Flanagan exposes the cruelty of war while beautifully exploring the themes of the impermanence of life and the impossibility of love. The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a well researched story which has received great acclaim and has been longlisted for the 2014 Miles Franklin Literary Award. It is a work which demonstrates the skill of an author writing at the peak of his craft and is a worthy contender for the Dublin award.

Using dual narratives in a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway and suburban Australia, Richard Flanagan’s novel jumps between past and present to recount a horrific day on the railway and the post-war lives of those involved. The narratives contrast the hellish acts of war with a suburban illicit love story. Flanagan’s novel explores love and death, the horror of war, and the nature of heroism. The novel has won the Indie Book of the Year Award and been shortlisted to the NSW Premier’s Literary Awards and Victorian Premier’s Literary Awards.

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