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Book Review: The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

Review by Chiara Bragato Year 12

The Narrow Road to the Deep North, written by Richard Flanagan, is a historical fiction novel. Written in three parts, it explores the reality of prisoners of war that were forced to work on the Thai-Burmese railway throughout World War 2.

The first part follows the story of a soldier pre-war and highlights the difficulty that came with reconciling duty with love. The second part of book follows the stories of various prisoners in one of the camps, and tells of the abuse they endured. It highlights the difficulties faced due to the lack of resources and hygiene, explores the mental and emotional struggle that each man goes through, and examines the responsibility felt by the prisoners in charge. The third part of the book explores the lives of the Australian prisoners post-war as they deal with the mental and physical repercussions. It also tells of what happened to the Japanese and Korean guards, and the consequences they face in a post-war society.

Ultimately, this book is an excellent read for anyone interested in history or human nature. It’s extremely moving (though a little graphic at times) and is certainly a good book to read over the holidays.


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