The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan

This month, the Book Talk panel has been discussing the 2014 Man Booker Prize winner, Richard Flanagan's The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Taking its title from one of the most famous books in Japanese literature, written by the great haiku poet Basho, Flanagan’s novel has as its heart one of the most infamous episodes of Japanese history, the construction of the Thailand-Burma Death Railway in World War II.

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. 

The Narrow Road to the Deep North
Joining Sasha de Buyl are Literature Manager at Creative Scotland, Jenny Niven, and former Booker prize judge and literary critic, Stuart Kelly.

The panel discusses the many different facets of a novel called ‘graceful and unfathomable’ by the Telegraph, including its many scenes of torture and violence and the stripping back of concepts of traditional masculinity.

Through the podcast, they explore what sort of book deserves to win a Booker prize and whether Flanagan’s Narrow Road has earned its weighty title. Despite winning the Man Booker Prize, the novel was nominated for a Bad Sex award. Were Flanagan's descriptions jarring for the panel?

Flanagan is seen as a powerhouse of literary fiction in today’s market – does he mark a turn in the tide for the ‘Culture Cringe’ generation of Australian culture?

If you're reading, or have read, the book, what did you think? How do you think it compares to Flanagan's previous books? We'd love to know what you thought - you can join the discussion in the comments below, or on Twitter @scottishbktrust or on Facebook.

Competition: Win a copy of The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Thanks to Chatto & Windus, we have two copies of our featured book The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan to giveaway. 

All you have to do to enter is answer this simple question in an email to marked 'Book Talk Competition' - or post your answer in the comments below:

- Which pretigious literary prize did The Narrow Road to the Deep North recently win?

Closing date: 17:00, Monday 5 January 2015. Open to UK entrants only. Full terms and conditions.

Discover more

Listen to an interview with Richard Flanagan on the BBC's Open Book.

Find out more about the Man Booker Prize.

Book Talk is produced by Colin Fraser of Culture Laser Productions.

Filed In: Book Talk Tags: Richard Flanagan