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The Narrow Road to the Deep North (2014)

de Richard Flanagan

Altres autors: Mira la secció altres autors.

MembresRessenyesPopularitatValoració mitjanaConverses / Mencions
3,0821454,332 (4.01)2 / 371
"A novel of love and war that traces the life of one man--an Australian surgeon--from a prisoner-of-war camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway during World War II, up to the present"--
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    kjuliff: Both extremely well written novels on the effects of war on civilians or POWs.
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    gust: In beide boeken speelt de dramatisch verlopen aanleg van een spoorweg tussen Thaïland en Birma door krijgsgevangenen van de Japanners tijdens de tweede wereldoorlog een belangrijke rol.
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» Mira també 371 mencions

Anglès (142)  Alemany (1)  Francès (1)  Neerlandès (1)  Totes les llengües (145)
Es mostren 1-5 de 145 (següent | mostra-les totes)
Extraordinary and memorable. Highly recommended. ( )
  fmclellan | Jan 23, 2024 |
A very fine and structurally elaborate story built, to some degree, on the structure and meaning of Basho's great 17th century Haibun (a combination of prose and Haiku) of the same name. The novel has five parts, each introduced by an Haiku - the first by Basho and the others by Issa. Haikus also figure in the central part of the story which is based on the experiences of Australian prisoners of war building the Burma Railway for their Japanese captors in 1943. We see at least some portions of the Australian protagonist's whole life, before, during and after his war experience, but there is some jumping in time, and, with considerable imagery of hell, there is a sense that his life is defined by and revolves around a horrific day in Burma. All of the other characters are also limited by and trapped in this day.
Basho's Haibun is a description of his dangerous 1500 mile journey through Edo Japan in which he says that everyday is a journey, and the journey itself home. Noboyuki Yuasa wrote that "Basho had been casting away his earthly attachments...prior to his journey, and now he had nothing else to cast away but his own self...." (see Wikipedia entry on Oku no Hosomichi.)
There are other parallels - the sense of sabi (aloneness) in both books, the structure of Haiku itself with images on either side of a kirji, or cutting word, the change in Basho's poetry that occurred after his trip, etc.
Noboyuki Yuasa wrote that Basho's Narrow road to the Deep North was "a study in eternity and a monument set up against the flow of time". I defer to you whether Flanagan's book is this also. ( )
  markm2315 | Jul 1, 2023 |
As I read this book the word I felt was "masterly." Flanagan seemed in complete control of his story and presentation.

Spoilers Abound.
But, after all, there are perhaps problems. I guess the fact that he couldn't say Hello when he saw her is the most clear evidence of the destruction his life wrought on him. I didn't find the set pieces convincing -- the one where he goes into the fire to save his family, the one where we find out that Darky was his nephew.
I'm surprised I let myself read it. Some of it will stay with me for a long time. (I watch baseball and I see Shohei's sweet face in the New Balance ad several times a day, but the logic of the book doesn't allow for much humanity.)
The characters are unknowable, that's part of the point I think.
  franoscar | Apr 27, 2023 |
Whoa. I found this novel to be both deeply flawed and incredibly compelling and powerful. The compelling and powerful part was enough to give it five stars in spite of the issues I had with it.
The story is about an Australian doctor, Dorrigo Evans, who ends up in a Japanese run POW camp. This particular group of POWs is responsible for building the Burma Railway (also known as the Death Railway). The task was seen as impossible, but the Japanese were basically determined to build it no matter what the cost. The book centers on life in the POW camp and then the aftermath of the war from both Evans' and the Japanese guards perspectives. In addition, before the war, Evans has an affair with his uncle's wife, and there is a subplot that focuses on Evans' affair and the impacts on his family life.

Let's talk about what makes this book so outstanding. First, Flanagan really wrote about war in such a way that it was totally brought to life for me. The scenes are very graphic, but I literally felt like I was there in the jungle with these prisoners. It was completely vivid in my mind. Second, Flanagan slowly reveals a very fascinating theme (or fascinating to me) about the true nature of man and whether good and bad can reside in one man at the same time and how that can happen. He investigates the issues of conscious and character on a deep level. I loved the way he explored these themes, and as soon as I finished the last page, I wanted to open the book back up and start it over again.

Unfortunately, there are some negatives that I feel I must mention because I don't think this book is going to be for everyone.

The initial 70 pages just aren't good reading. If I was the type of person who can put a book aside readily without finishing, it probably would have been put aside. It helped that it was recommended by someone who has never steered me wrong on a recommendation. Then, suddenly, it was as though the book takes off like a rocket. And at the end, I wanted to re-read the first 70 pages because things at the end tie back to the beginning. Honestly, I kinda really want to re-read the whole book now.
Also, the book jumps around in time without quite enough clues for my taste as to where you are in the timeline. That can be slightly frustrating.

Finally, Flanagan doesn't write about love and sex in nearly the same fashion as he writes about war. I felt like he truly understood war deep in his core. That he was somehow "writing what he knew". Love. Not so much. The love story never really came alive for me, and there's so many more moving love stories that if you were to read this book for that, you'd be wasting your time.

And yet, even with all these pretty substantial issues, I totally see why this book won the Booker. It will stay with me for a long time. I may actually re-read it. Something I rarely, rarely do. Honestly, in some way, it was different from any other book I can recall reading. I highlighted a lot of passages. Way more than usual. When it related to the war, I felt like the prose was outstanding. ( )
  Anita_Pomerantz | Mar 23, 2023 |
Powerful historical fiction about timeless themes: the horrors of war, the nature of heroism, moral dualism, the meaning of life. The protagonist, Dorrigo Evans, is a doctor leading a group of Australian POWs captured by the Japanese in WWII and forced to build the Thai–Burma Death Railway. He rises to the challenge during crises, but his personal life is in disarray. The writing is eloquent, the storyline is riveting and the characters, particularly the men, are deeply drawn. It is thought-provoking and insightful. It helps explain, but does not excuse, the atrocities committed during the war by getting into the minds of those in charge of the prison camp. It also provides insight into the various coping mechanisms of the prisoners, both during and after the war. Flanagan’s vivid descriptions gave me a mind’s eye view into the horrific conditions of the prisoners in the jungle. The author employed a couple of recurring motifs that appealed to me, such as the interplay between light and shadow and the plentiful literary references. My issues with it were minor: female characters not at the same depth as the men, a bit choppy in the beginning, and lack of quotation marks, requiring a bit of re-reading.

This book contains graphic descriptions of violence, such as beheadings, operations without anesthesia, and brutal beatings. Also contains triggers for starvation, disease, infidelity, and PTSD. I felt physically ill reading some of these descriptions, so be forewarned.

Favorite quote:
"A happy man has no past, while an unhappy man has nothing else."
( )
  Castlelass | Nov 4, 2022 |
Es mostren 1-5 de 145 (següent | mostra-les totes)
This novel would have been far more powerful and coherent if Amy were excised from the story. It is the story of Dorrigo, as one man among many P.O.W.’s in the Asian jungle, that is the beating heart of this book: an excruciating, terrifying, life-altering story that is an indelible fictional testament to the prisoners there. Taken by themselves, these chapters create a slim, compelling story: Odysseus’s perseverance through a bloody war and his return home at last to Penelope (in this case, Ella) and his efforts, like his fellow soldiers’, to see if he can put the horrors and suffering of war in the rearview mirror, and somehow construct a fulfilling Act II to a broken life.
afegit per ozzer | editaNew York Times, MICHIKO KAKUTANI (Aug 17, 2014)
 

» Afegeix-hi altres autors (13 possibles)

Nom de l'autorCàrrecTipus d'autorObra?Estat
Richard Flanaganautor primaritotes les edicionscalculat
Blommesteijn, AnkieTraductorautor secundarialgunes edicionsconfirmat
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Mother, they write poems.

    Paul Celan
A bee
staggers out
of the peony.

Basho
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For prisoner san byaku ju go (335)
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Why at the beginning of things is there always light?
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But sometimes things are said and they're not just words. They are everything that one person thinks of another in a sentence. Just one sentence. . . . . .There are words and words and none mean anything. And then one sentence means everything.
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"A novel of love and war that traces the life of one man--an Australian surgeon--from a prisoner-of-war camp on the Thai-Burma Death Railway during World War II, up to the present"--

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