AustLit logo
image of person or book cover 4695875357608800097.jpg
Cover image courtesy of publisher.
y separately published work icon The Narrow Road to the Deep North single work   novel   historical fiction  
Issue Details: First known date: 2013... 2013 The Narrow Road to the Deep North
The material on this page is available to AustLit subscribers. If you are a subscriber or are from a subscribing organisation, please log in to gain full access. To explore options for subscribing to this unique teaching, research, and publishing resource for Australian culture and storytelling, please contact us or find out more.

AbstractHistoryArchive Description

'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.' (Publisher's blurb)

Exhibitions

17215744
17023670
18388247
18387981

Reading Australia

Reading Australia

This work has Reading Australia teaching resources.

Unit Suitable For

AC: Senior Secondary (Literature Unit 3)

Themes

bravery, cruelty and futility of war, good and evil, heroism, hope, Japanese, love, mateship, memory, national spirit, survival, war

General Capabilities

Critical and creative thinking, Ethical understanding, Information and communication technology, Intercultural understanding, Literacy, Personal and social

Cross-curriculum Priorities

Asia and Australia's engagement with Asia

Notes

  • Dedication: For prisoner san byaku san ju go (335)
  • Epigraph:

    A bee

    staggers out

    of the peony.

    – Basho

  • Epigraph: Mother, they write poems. -Paul Celan
  • On 15 March 2018, it was announced that FremantleMedia had secured the television rights to the novel, but no further information on the adaptation had been released.

Publication Details of Only Known VersionEarliest 2 Known Versions of

    • Sydney, New South Wales,: Random House , 2013 .
      image of person or book cover 4695875357608800097.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 480p.
      Note/s:
      • Publication date: 23 September 2013
      ISBN: 9781741666700
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Chatto and Windus ,
      2014 .
      image of person or book cover 9204154548041508837.jpg
      Cover image courtesy of publisher.
      Extent: 448p.
      Note/s:
      • Publication date: 03 July 2014
      ISBN: 9780701189051
    • North Sydney, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Random House Australia , 2014 .
      image of person or book cover 8827421877792129645.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 467p.
      Note/s:
      • Published November 2014
      ISBN: 9780857980366
    • North Sydney, North Sydney - Lane Cove area, Sydney Northern Suburbs, Sydney, New South Wales,: Random House Australia , 2014 .
      image of person or book cover 381526405111472686.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 496p.
      Edition info: Commemorative Edition
      Note/s:
      • Published: 1st December 2014
      ISBN: 9780857987921
    • London,
      c
      England,
      c
      c
      United Kingdom (UK),
      c
      Western Europe, Europe,
      :
      Vintage ,
      2015 .
      image of person or book cover 8434093239156605766.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 448p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 26 March 2015.
      ISBN: 9780099593584
    • New York (City), New York (State),
      c
      United States of America (USA),
      c
      Americas,
      :
      Vintage International ,
      2015 .
      image of person or book cover 694142384872964459.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 397p.p.
      Note/s:
      • Publication date 14 April 2015 
      ISBN: 9780804171472, 0804171475
Alternative title: De smalle weg naar het verre noorden
Language: Dutch
    • Antwerp, Belgium, Western Europe, Europe,: De Bezige Bij , 2014 .
      image of person or book cover 7229743052354676829.jpg
      This image has been sourced from online.
      Extent: 388p.
      Note/s:
      • Published 16 August 2014
      ISBN: 9789085425700, 9085425700

Other Formats

  • Sound recording.
  • Large print.

Works about this Work

Modern Times : The Great Australian Novel Andrew Hunter , 2019 single work column
— Appears in: The Adelaide Review , November no. 477 2019; (p. 14)
《深入北方的小路》中的后现代创伤伦理 Twisted Trauma and Postmodern Ethics in The Narrow Road to the Deep North Wang Labao , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Foreign Literature , vol. [2018] no. 2 2018; (p. 8-20)

'《深入北方的小路》是澳大利亚小说家理查德·弗兰纳根的第六部长篇小说,小说主体部分讲述了一群澳大利亚士兵在二战日本战俘营中的创伤故事,小说立足"死亡铁路"这一特定的背景,集中刻画了来自澳大利亚、日本和朝鲜的三组人物,充分表达了小说家对他们的态度和价值取向。在小说中,澳大利亚战俘不尊崇美德,不关心历史,更不需要尊严,表现出彻头彻尾的虚无主义;日本军士个个饱读诗书,身上承载着一种文化与精神,令人肃然起敬;相比之下,朝鲜人胸无点墨、缺少人性,是极恶的化身。《深入北方的小路》呈现的乾坤颠倒的创伤叙事背后暗藏着一种扭曲的后现代价值取向,本文结合小说的人物刻画针对其所传达的后现代伦理进行解读

'Richard Flanagan’s sixth novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, has attracted quite some criticisms in spite of all the celebratory rhetoric that came after it won the 2014 Man Booker Prize. This essay offers a critical reading of the novel’s treatment of trauma as a theme and the ethics it reveals by looking into the way in which three national groups of characters are portrayed. Flanagan portrays Australians as nihilistic creatures incapable of noble emotions. In the meantime, he depicts the Japanese as people with a special spirit that deserves understanding. And he presents the Koreans as demons capable of the most inhuman atrocities. Through such deliberate nullification of trauma, the novel communicates a set of values that one would associate with postmodern ethics. It is contended that what the story offers is perhaps a truly "narrow road" for Australia towards Asia.'

Source: CAOD.

The New Historical Novel : Putting Mid-twentieth-century Australia into Perspective Nicholas Birns , 2018 single work criticism
— Appears in: Commonwealth : Essays and Studies , Autumn vol. 41 no. 1 2018; (p. 7-18)

'This article argues that, since 2004 or so, a new kind of Australian historical novel has emerged among practitioners of literary fiction, one concerned with the mid-twentieth century. This new historical fiction has been characterized by an aesthetic stringency and self-consciousness. Though Steven Carroll and Ashley Hay will be the principal twenty-first-century writers examined, reference will also be made to several other writers including Carrie Tiffany, Charlotte Wood, Sofie Laguna, and to the later work of Peter Carey. In all these contemporary books, technology plays a major role in defining the twentieth century as seen historically.'  (Publication abstract)

 

Richard Flanagan's and Alexis Wright's Magic Nihilism Jamie Derkenne , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , December vol. 31 no. 2 2017; (p. 276-290, 458)

'Whether it be Sir John Franklin confronting a "sense of his own horror" while hallucinating and dying in Flanagan's Wanting (177), Oblivia, mute and with no agency, possessed only of memories that Bella Donna "has chosen to tell her" in Wright's Swan Book (89) and ending her days in a ghost swamp (334), or Aljaz Cosini finding himself in a "gorge of death" because he has ignored the "language" of the landscape in Flanagan's Death of a River Guide (296-97), both authors write of an erosion of being and purpose, often using landscape and the history inscribed on that landscape to describe existential crisis. Magic realism, even its constituent words, has little relation with what Franz Roh proposed in his seminal 1925 essay on a new form of painting: the term has not only shifted its main focus from one artistic endeavor to another but has often features of surrealism or what Roh (dismissively) called "Expressionism," a term he used to explicitly label Marc Chagall's modernist work, characterized as including animals walking in the sky, heads "popped like corks," "chromatic storms," and distortions of perspective (Faris 17). Wright's dream of a common spirituality of reconciliation, also expressed in interview, also has resonances with Fuentes's belief (33) that all Mexicans need to recognize that Indians are intrinsically part of their culture, their identity and heritage, and must therefore work to ensure justice for that population. [...]the invading colonial culture was initially penal, brutalizing, and authoritative and indeed sought to make the entire landscape an unescapable and perfect prison.' (Publication abstract)

"Communications from Below" : Scalar Transformations in Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North (2013) and Steven Carroll's A World of Other People (2013) Robert Dixon , 2017 single work criticism
— Appears in: Antipodes , June vol. 31 no. 1 2017; (p. 184-205)
Poetry without a Shred of Pity Geordie Williamson , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 28-29 September 2013; (p. 21)

— Review of The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan , 2013 single work novel
Light and Shadow Peter Conrad , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Monthly , October no. 94 2013; (p. 60-65)

— Review of The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan , 2013 single work novel ; Eyrie Tim Winton , 2013 single work novel
Barometer of Torment Morag Fraser , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Sydney Morning Herald , 12 October 2013; (p. 30-31)

— Review of The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan , 2013 single work novel
Elusive Nobility James Ley , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: Australian Book Review , October no. 355 2013;

— Review of The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan , 2013 single work novel
The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan Romy Ash , 2013 single work review
— Appears in: The Guardian Australia , 29 October 2013;

— Review of The Narrow Road to the Deep North Richard Flanagan , 2013 single work novel
A Ragged Pair of Claws Stephen Romei , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 21-22 September 2013; (p. 19)
Freeing My Father Richard Flanagan , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: Good Weekend , 21 September 2013; (p. 24-25) The Canberra Times , 21 September 2013;
War through Prism of Love Blanche Clark , 2013 single work interview
— Appears in: The Courier-Mail , 21-22 September 2013; (p. 19)
A Ragged Pair of Claws Stephen Romei , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: The Weekend Australian , 12-13 October 2013; (p. 19)
This One's Personal Phil Brown , 2013 single work column
— Appears in: Brisbane News , 16-22 October no. 953 2013; (p. 12)
Last amended 26 Feb 2020 16:24:06
Settings:
  • Burma-Thailand Railway,
    c
    Burma,
    c
    Southeast Asia, South and East Asia, Asia,
  • 1943
Newspapers:
    Powered by Trove
    X