The Narrow Road to the Deep North


The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan


What would you do if you saw the love of your life, whom you thought dead for a quarter of a century, walking towards you? 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.



Found the book challenging. Needed to read it in parts due to the, intense cruelty. Excellently, written. Enjoyed the reflecting backwards and forwards.

Extraordinarily well written. Descriptions of POW camps were harrowing. The character Dorrigo Evans was a remarkable man – in terms particularly of his care and attention to his men.  A very good read.

Skimmed through due to descriptions of cruelty etc. Too close to what is going on in the world today. Very well written.

Didn’t enjoy the book, but a very good expose of Dorrigo’s life and character. The love story was interesting. Not an uplifting book. Dorrigo wasn’t a hero except when in the POW camps.

One of the best books I have read. All the main characters were three dimensional. Very good character development throughout the book. The Japanese also three dimensional characters. Very brutal but illustrated the need to understand why people act as they do in some circumstances e.g. the cruelty of the Japanese.

Really liked the book – couldn’t put it down, found it interesting from the perspective. In depth history of the Burma Death railway.

Loved the way Flanagan created Dorrigo’s character from so many different aspects. It illustrated how throughout history we justify war. Loved the style of writing.

Exceptionally well written, harrowing. Needed to put it down at times after some of the brutal descriptions. Could smell the gangrene etc. at times as the descriptions were so powerful.

Read by – The First Wednesday Book Group