Publisher: Chatto & Windus
Length: 464 pages
About: Australian POWs working on Burma railway
Style: 3rd person
Where: Burma 1943
Forever after, there were for them only two sorts of men: the men who were on the Line, and the rest of humanity, who were not. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Burma Death Railway,
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. Hailed as a masterpiece, Richard Flanagan's epic novel tells the unforgettable story of one man's reckoning with the truth.
Why at the beginning of things is there always light? Dorrigo Evans' earliest memories were of sun flooding a church hall in which he sat with his mother and grandmother. A wooden church hall.
Blinding light and him toddling back and forth, in and out of its transcendent welcome, into the arms of women. Women who loved him. Like entering the sea and returning to the beach. Over and
Bless you, his mother says as she holds him and lets him go. Bless you, boy.
It is a novel of extraordinary power, deftly told and hugely affecting. A classic in the making.
To see full review click here
The Observer, Alex Preston, 20th July 2014
Not so good:
Flanagan’s writing courses like a river, sometimes black with mud, sludge and corpses, sometimes bright with moonlight. Danger is omnipresent, even after combat recedes; nature careless and
monumental in its rains, its bushfires. The hallucinations caused by privation, be it physical hunger or erotic yearning, are unapologetically evoked. The stories of these casualties of fate catch at
For full review click here
The Daily Telegraph, Catherine Taylor, 14th October 2014
About the author
Flanagan was born in Longford, Tasmania, in 1961, the fifth of six children. He is descended from Irish convicts transported to Van Diemen's Land in the 1840s. His father is a survivor of the
Burma Death Railway. One of his three brothers is Australian rules football journalist Martin Flanagan. He grew up in the remote mining town of Rosebery on Tasmania's western coast.
Flanagan left school at the age of 16. He returned to study at the University of Tasmania, where he was president of the Tasmania University Union in 1983. He graduated with a Bachelor of Arts
with first-class honours. The following year, he was awarded a Rhodes Scholarship at Worcester College, Oxford, where he was admitted to the degree of Master of Letters in History.
His father, who died the day Flanagan finished The Narrow Road to the Deep North, was a survivor of the Burma Death Railway.