The Narrow Road to the Deep North

  • by Richard Flanagan
  • Narrated by Richard Flanagan
  • 15 hrs and 4 mins
  • Unabridged Audiobook

Publisher's Summary

Winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize
A novel of the cruelty of war, and tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.
August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian 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. This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.


What the Critics Say

"Richard Flanagan is one of the most exciting novelists working anywhere, full stop." (The Age)
"Flanagan can stop a reader's breath." (Los Angeles Times)
"Mr Flanagan is a master of sleight of hand, adept at using words to conjure worlds, an indefatigable artist." (The New York Times)


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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful

Weary narration overcomes incident

What could have made this a 4 or 5-star listening experience for you?

Sharper editing and a professional narrator. This is an example of how the writer is sometimes not the best reader of his work. Flanagan narrates in a dull weary monotone which is only sometimes appropriate for the character of Dorrigo. It put me to sleep, lost my interest when driving no matter how dramatic the subject matter. Mispronounciations annoyed me: maybe an Australian 'antimacassar' is said with the stress on the third syllable but I don't ' think a hat is worn 'rakkishly' even Down Under. The writing is very uneven, especially in the Australian sections: longwinded expositions of unconvincing emotions, wince-making descriptions surely qualifying for entry in The Bad Sex Award ( lots of 'short pants'). The Burma railway chapters are vividly imagined and I was especially moved by the exploration of the Japanese officers' situation, more chilling and intense than the catalogue of the POWs' horrors. I look forward to reading the novel to judge for myself why it was selected for the ManBooker list to as I felt unable to stuck with the audio version beyond the arrival of the much-vaunted letter in Part 3, and while mildly curious to know the outcome, valued my will to live too much to carry on listening.

Would you recommend The Narrow Road to the Deep North to your friends? Why or why not?

Not in this version.

Would you be willing to try another one of Richard Flanagan’s performances?


You didn’t love this book--but did it have any redeeming qualities?

Really thorough research and convincing exploration of the Japanese viewpoint.

Any additional comments?

Only the second audio novel I have given up on in eight years.

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- C. Evans

Listen to a sample of the audio before you buy it

How did the narrator detract from the book?

As far as I could tell there was some nice clean prose and a good story struggling to get out, but some one should have explained to Richard Flanagan that it was time to hand over his baby to an actor capable of infusing some life into the narrative. I gave up after the opening and, on the basis that I do think there may be a good book there, have ordered the kindle version instead.

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- mm

Book Details

  • Release Date: 01-11-2013
  • Publisher: Bolinda Publishing Pty Ltd