Read The Narrow Road to the Deep North mobi ´ Paperback

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α τον αλλάξει για πάνταΈνα αριστουργηματικό μυθιστόρημα για τις πολλές όψεις του καλού και του κακού της αγάπης και του θανάτου καθώς ένας άνθρωπος επιβιώνει και ωριμάζει μόνο και μόνο για να ανακαλύψει όσα έχει χάσε The very best books don’t just entertain uplift or educate us They enfold us in their world and make us step outside of ourselves and become transformed And sometimes if we’re really lucky they ennoble and affirm usThe Narrow Road to the Deep North is such a book Once I got past the first 60 or 70 pages there was no turning back I turned the last page marveling at Mr Flanagan’s skill and agreeing with historian Barbara Tuchman that “Without books history is silent literature dumb science cripples thought and speculation at a standstill” The Narrow Road is based on an actual event the building of the Thai Burma death railway in 1943 by POWs commanded to the Japanese The title comes from famed haiku poet Matsuo Basho’s most famous work and sets up a truism of the human condition even those who can admire the concise and exuisite portrayal of life can become the agents of deathThe key character Australian surgeon Dorrigo Evans is also a study in contradictions a man called “Big Fella” who protects those under his command from starvation heinous deceases and senseless dehumanizing while struggling with his own demons The passages are haunting and heartbreaking the skeletal bodies covered in their own excretement the bulging ulcers the breaking of mind and spirit Yet Mr Flanagan does not depict these scenes to shock the reader Rather he reveals the senselessness of it all “Nothing endures Don’t you see? That’s what Kipling meant Not empires not memories We remember nothing Maybe for a year or two Maybe most of a life if we live Maybe But then we will die and who will ever understand any of this?”And later “For an instant he thought he grasped the truth of a terrifying world in which one could not escape horror in which violence was eternal the great and only verity greater than the civilizations it created greater than any god man worshipped” Richard Flanagan implies again and again that only books and poems surviveOne of the book’s strengths is that it never resorts to “us” and “them” After depositing us in the midst of hell he delivers us back to a post war world where Japanese and POWs alike struggle to justify and endure The only weakness is an overwrought love affair at the beginning of the book but to Richard Flanagan’s credit he doesn’t take the easy way out in crafting its culminationThe dedication – to prisoner san byaku san ju go 335 was so enticing I Googled it only to find that the prisoner alluded to was actually Richard Flanagan’s father As he states early on when describing the unofficial national war memorial commemorating the railroad “There are no names of the hundreds of thousands who died building the railwayTheir names are already forgotten There is no book for their lost souls Let them have this fragment” Richard Flanagan does honor to these unsung heroes

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The Narrow Road to the Deep NorthΑύγουστος 1943 Ο Αυστραλός χειρουργός Ντορίγκο Έβανς νιώθει να τον στοιχειώνει ακόμη ύστερα από δύο χρόνια η παθιασμένη σχέση του με τη γυναίκα του θείου του Η ζωή του σ’ ένα ιαπωνικό στρατόπεδο αιχμαλώτων πολέμου στο? Beware Richard Flanagan’s new novel “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” His story about a group of Australian POWs during World War II will cast a shadow over your summer and draw you away from friends and family into dark contemplation the way only the most extraordinary books can Nothing since Cormac McCarthy’s “The Road” has shaken me like this — all the so because it’s based on recorded history rather than apocalyptic speculationA finalist for this year’s Man Booker Prize “The Narrow Road to the Deeper North” portrays a singular episode of manic brutality imperial Japan’s construction of the Thailand Burma Death Railway in the early 1940s The British had long investigated this route but they deemed the jungle impenetrable Once the Japanese captured Burma though its army needed a efficient resupply route and so the impossible became possible in just over a year by using some 300000 people as disposable labor Flanagan’s late father was a survivor of that atrocity which took the lives of than 12000 Allied prisoners“I had known for a long time that this was the book I had to write if I was to keep on writing” Flanagan said recently “Other novels came and went as I continued to fail to write this one” Those “other novels” that he refers to so modestly include his 2001 masterpiece “Gould’s Book of Fish” which also dealt with the unfathomable abuse of prisoners But the horrors of that story about a 19th century convict kept in a partially submerged cage in Tasmania were leavened by ribald humor and a style so lush that the sentences seemed to send tendrils off the pages which were printed in several different colors “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” sports none of that dazzling showmanship Its magic is darker and subtle its impact devastating Here Flanagan is writing about events that outstrip surrealism His uiet unrelenting style is often unbearably powerful Not just an enlivened historical documentary or a corrective to Pierre Boulle’s “The Bridge over the River Kwai” this is a classic work of war fiction from a world class writerThe story casts its roving eye on 77 year old Dr Dorrigo Evans a celebrated war hero whose life has been an unsatisfying string of sterile affairs and public honors He loved a woman once but tragedy intervened and since then each new award and commendation only makes Dorrigo feel undeserving and fraudulent “The he was accused of virtue as he grew older the he hated it” Flanagan writes “Virtue was vanity dressed up and waiting for applause” Asked to write the introduction to a collection of once contraband sketches by one of the servicemen imprisoned with him in Siam he begins to recall the experiences of that hellacious periodFlanagan has always bent time to his art in the most captivating ways His first novel “Death of a River Guide” played out the history of Tasmania in the few minutes it takes a man to drown “The Narrow Road to the Deep North” has a complex impressionistic structure as it moves fluidly forward and backward changing perspectives and locales keeping us mesmerized but never confused For many pages the novel shimmers over the decades of Dorrigo’s life only flashing on the horrors of war and the ghosts who haunt himBut soon enough that unspeakable period comes into focus in a series of blistering episodes you will never get out of your mind As senior captured officers succumb to disease Dorrigo finds himself placed in command of 700 sickly prisoners who he “held nursed cajoled begged hoodwinked and organised into surviving whose needs he always put before his own” This character bears some resemblance to the Australian war hero Col Edward “Weary” Dunlop The hospital tent euipped only with rags and saws is a theater of magical thinking and unfathomable gore During one operation scene I confess that I forced my eyes down the page in a blurWhat stretches the story beyond the visceral pain it brings to life is the attention paid to these men as individuals their pettiness and their courage their acts of betrayal and affection and their efforts to cling to trappings of civilization no matter how slight or futile The greatest burden and the one most affectingly portrayed is Dorrigo’s moral conundrum Every morning he begins bargaining with his Japanese captors who insist that dying for the emperor is an honor sufficient to raise his men from the “shame” of being captured Dorrigo must select the healthiest prisoners for that day’s crushing labor But his men — “like a muddy bundle of broken sticks” — are starving suffering from cholera and in the never ending rain their ulcer covered bodies are rotting away The ceaseless torture described here is strikingly uncreative no water boarding no electrodes nothing from the Dick Cheney Handbook for Liberators Instead the prisoners are simply kicked to death or beaten with bamboo poles to bloody mush Dorrigo must strive to save each one knowing that ultimately he can’t rescue any of them and that their deaths here in the jungle in service to an insane ambition mean nothing and will uickly be forgottenAmong the novel’s most daring strategies is its periodic shift to the Japanese and Korean guards’ points of view — both during and long after the war Flanagan pulls us right into the minds of these men raised on emperor worship trained in a system of ritualized brutality and wholly invested in the necessity of their cause It’s a harrowing portrayal of the force of culture and the way twisted political logic inflated by religious zeal can render obscene atrocities routine even necessary The novel doesn’t exonerate these war criminals but it forces us to admit that history conspired to place them in a situation where cruelty would thrive where the natural responses of human kindness and sympathy were short circuited And in its final move the story makes us confront the conundrum of evil men who later become kind and gentle under the cleansing shower of their own denial How infinite are our ways of absolving ourselves of rendering our crimes irrelevant of mitigating the magnitude of others’ painUltimately though the tale belongs to Dorrigo whose heroism is never sufficient to satisfy his own ideals His ordeal as “part of a Pharaonic slave system that had at its apex a divine sun king” seems the kind of psychic injury that never heals but Flanagan insists that the real source of the doctor’s chronic despair is the loss of his one true love That’s a mystery spun here in prose as haunting and evocative as the haiku by 17th century Japanese poet Basho that gives this novel its title No other author draws us into “the strange terrible neverendingness of human beings” the way Flanagan does This review was first published in The Washington Post

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Read The Narrow Road to the Deep North mobi ´ Paperback Þ Αύγουστος 1943 Ο Αυστραλός χειρουργός Ντορίγκο Έβανς νιώθει να τον στοιχειώνει ακόμη ύστερα από δύο χρόνια η παθιασμένη σχέση του με τη γυναίκα του? Σιδηρόδρομο του Θανάτου που συνδέει την Ταϊλάνδη με τη Βιρμανία δεν είναι παρά ένας καθημερινός αγώνας να προστατεύσει τους άντρες του από το ξύλο την πείνα και τη χολέρα Μέχρι την ημέρα που λαμβάνει ένα γράμμα που θ I have mixed feelings about Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road To The Deep North the winner of the 2014 Man Booker Prize The book is obviously well researched It was inspired by the author’s father’s gruelling experiences as a POW working on the notorious “Death Railway” during WW2 in which starving and dying prisoners were forced by the Japanese to hack through the Burmese jungle and build a railway from Bangkok to Rangoon The novel took 12 years to finish Side note in interviews Flanagan said his father died the day the book was finished Touching right? It has all the hallmarks of a classy literary important work about love war good evil the endurance of the human spirit etc etc• handsome tasteful cover• enigmatic uotations including that hard to remember title from poets like Basho Tennyson and Issa I had to look that last writer up that are meant to be deep and meaningful• multiple shifts in time and place our protagonist is a boy remembering light now he’s an old respected war hero and surgeon who sleeps with anything that breathes; now he’s a young doctor in love although the woman he’s shtupping is his uncle’s much younger wife now he’s a soldier in SiamThailand now he’s performing gruesome surgery on his fellow soldiers with crude instruments and no sanitation now like Schindler from another Booker Award winning novel by an Australian he’s having to choose what prisoners get to live and die; now he’s living with the AFTERMATH OF ALL OF THE ABOVE• multiple shifts in perspective okay there’s our main protagonistloverwar heroconflicted family man Dorrigo Evans; there’s also his band of soldiers who sport hearty names like Darky Gardiner Sheephead Morton and Tiny Middleton and each have one characteristic that makes them stand out; oh yeah plus we get to see through the beady eyes of the villainous sadistic Japanese captors and a Korean guard who of course all turn out to have their own fears and prejudices How democratic and ya know fair of Flanagan right?So there’s all of that And yetIt’s also highly repetitive The shifts in time at the beginning are confusing than effective The characters even our flawed hero Dorrigo remain utterly opaue There doesn’t seem to be anything connecting him and his experiences with anything that happens laterWhile there are passages of intensity vigour and simple almost Hemingwayesue beauty a late scene in a fish restaurant brought me to tears with its understated power there are also sections of clunky overwritten melodramatic and obvious prose And some of the descriptions of women are howlingly badThere’s also something contrived and self conscious about the novel as if it were written with a big prestigious important movie adaptation in mind The Australian Patient?I know I’m in the minority here and some of the book’s harrowing scenes will of course stay with me I do recommend the book And perhaps I’ll revisit it when that inevitable big budget film comes out