The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan
“Summer grasses/All that remains/of soldiers’ dreams.” Matsuo Bashō
I just finished reading The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.
What a book! Incredible! I’d like to tell you more about why I liked it and how it impacted me, but I don’t know where to begin. I’m still heart and soul into it as if I’ve been hit by something massive and I’m disoriented, unsure what happened.
The title of the novel is derived from Matsuo Bashō’s poem of his travels to Japan’s remote north-eastern region, Tohoku. Bits of poetry are quoted throughout the novel, beautifully strengthening the character development and the scenes where they appear as well as foreshadowing each section of the book.
I can tell you that Flanagan wrote the book for his father, who was a prisoner of war during WWII. The book follows the lives of the Australian prisoners of war and their Japanese captors, both tasked with completing the Burma railway line.
But in telling you this, I’m stalling, still trying to find my way to what I want to say.