The Narrow Road to the Deep North: Book Review

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Another Man Booker Prize nomination, recommended by my sister, which disappointed me. Lots of people, unlike me, have given 4-5 star rating to ‘The Road to the Deep North’ but quite a few things did not work for me!

The protagonist Dorris Evan’s character was the biggest turn-off! An Australian doctor who served in WWII and a POW sent to the Burmese border for two years, Dorris has got the book written around past events from his entire life. The gory war background of the book gives it a sad note and Dorris’s inability to love anyone and reckless affairs with countless women did not contribute much towards making it any more interesting.

The book started off very slow me, first 50ish pages quite boring. Then it was just war stuff, atrocities, the difficult decisions he had to make in the war areas sprinkled with Dorris’s numerous preposterous encounters with women. The most prominent being the one with his uncle’s young wife! Neither the war nor the affairs had anything appealing to me as a reader. I don’t mind reading sad plots, something like in Khalid Hosseini’s work but this one really fell flat. The whole book sounded like a dismal record of war and failed love.

Parts of the book are written beautifully but it lacked a strong storyline and likable characters. I felt most parts of the book were dragged a bit too much to an extent that it became too boring to read the chapters in their entirety. Ironically, I finished my Goodreads Reading challenge of 50 books with this book!

Some quotes:

A good book, he had concluded, leaves you wanting to reread the book. A great book compels you to reread your own soul.

No one makes love like they make a wall or a house. They catch it like a cold. It makes them miserable and then it passes, and pretending otherwise is the road to hell.

Humans are only one of many things, and all these things long to live, and the highest form of living is freedom: a man to be a man, a cloud to be a cloud, bamboo to be bamboo.

Memory’s only like justice, because it is another wrong idea that makes people feel right.

 

 

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