The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Howdy folks and welcome to the first book review from The Boss Book Club!

Today I’m going to convince you to go ahead and get yourself a copy of The Narrow Road to the Deep North, a novel for adults, written by Tasmanian author Richard Flanagan.

This book is incredible. It won The Man Booker Prize in 2014, so I’m obviously not the only one who thinks so. The story is based on an Australian man named Dorrigo, who becomes a Prisoner of War under the guard of the Japanese military, being held captive in Thailand, forced to take part in the building of the Thai- Burma death railway. If you are interested in the war experience or in this particular part of military history (around the close of World War Two) then you will be automatically fascinated by this story. You get to experience every gritty detail as told through the eyes of Dorrigo, and Richard does an incredible job at pulling the reader into a first- hand experience of this dark chapter in history.

If, like me, you have not read much war-related material and your knowledge of the railway is limited, don’t run away! You will come away from reading this with a whole new perspective on life in wartime, and this book is about a lot more things than war alone.

From the description it may sound like a basic war story, but this book covers the whole of Dorrigo’s life, as well as the lives of his fellow soldiers, and even the fates of his Japanese enemies. It covers a variety of themes, from love and romance, to death and loss, illness, family, mateship, suffering and the burdens of everyday life. The language used throughout is poetic and beautiful. It took me probably the first 40 or so pages to find the rhythm in Richard’s writing but once I had, I enjoyed the book from beginning to end. The story is not told sequentially (if you know that from the start it helps- you’re welcome!) but rather jumps throughout Dorrigo’s history and timeline.

This book is definitely aimed at an adult audience, and I feel that it deserves multiple readings throughout your own lifespan. The book covers Dorrigo’s life from a teenager, to an elderly man, and if you read this book in your 30’s it would read different to your experience of it in your 50’s or 60’s as I believe you would relate to Dorrigo and the themes of this book on a different level. It talks about the very human things: the disappointments we experience, the mistakes we make, the joys we find (even if they last only a little while!) and talks about a man who might seem like he has it all together, but doesn’t at all. I think we can all relate to that sometimes.

I give this book 4 out of 5 stars.

Have you read it? Let me know what you thought of it in the comments below. I’d love to hear your opinions of it!


Thank you and welcome to the boss club!



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