Book Review by Masoud Borbor
Narrow Road to the Deep North, by Richard Flanagan is a story of war. A story of a man, in an all men’s world, who enters a war with a deep, forbidden love inside, and after the impact of each tragedy he witnesses in a POW camp, he becomes gradually void.
Flanagan starts the story with illustrious images taking us step by step into his story world. With descriptions sometimes reminiscent of James Joyce (in Dubliners not Ulysses) the story itself, mentions Joyce words as well.
Each chapter becomes a story: a notebook gone with wind, a love ruined, a soldier humiliated, etc. The story moves forward slowly but every time you are about to get bored you face a surprise: a forbidden sweet love story which makes the book a page-turner, or a lash of a tragedy which forces you to close the book, astonished, transfixed, and silent.
The story world, is somewhere deep inside a forest, with almost naked men stuck in rain and mud, under oppression as POWs; Somewhere near a sunny beach getting rich with a sweet hidden love started in a bookstore; And somewhere inside a mind, staring at the existence reviewing beliefs and sentences over and over by metaphoric images.
The book`s style, for me as a non-native English reader was difficult but charming, which sometimes makes you pause, whisper and memorize the page to share it with the others in your BookFeed.
I read the first 317 pages with enthusiasm and pleasure, but the final part -starting from page 317 in my copy- which described the fate of each character to their very end, went on too slow and not motivating leaving nothing but a few images you might want to remember someday.
Narrow Road to the Deep North, is a story of war, love, enslavement, human beings, and existence. If you look for a fast paced story with consecutive adventure, this would not be a choice, but if you look for a book which raises a world, vivid as a nightmare, memorable as the first love, and agitating as bad memories, here you are.