Strawberries in the Desert

Story telling from Australia

Please read this

It’s not often I read a book and instantly recommend it to everyone, but this year’s Man Booker prize winner – The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Tasmanian Richard Flanagan – is one such book.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

Please, when you can, read this book.

The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a book about war and the dreadful atrocities we humans are capable of inflicting on others; it’s also a book about the redemptive power of love and compassion.

I’ve been talking about love a lot in the past few weeks, visiting CWA meetings and libraries to talk about Love in the Outback (and thank you to all the wonderful people I met in Maitland, at Goodwin Village and in Jerry’s Plains earlier this week). I’ve reached the conclusion that love is the only truly effective weapon we can ever hope to find if we want to combat hatred, fear, ignorance and mistrust.

The media bombards us on a daily basis with images designed to strike fear into our hearts, fostering mistrust and making the world seem like a frightening place. It’s true, the world is a frightening place for many people, and there’s no denying that the Narrow Road to the Deep North explores the darkest side of human behaviour, detailing the brutality we’re all capable of if we turn away from love and let fear and hatred rule our lives. But it’s also the kind of book that gives you hope, a book that believes redemption is possible, that grace exists, that compassion and dignity are worth fighting for and that human beings are capable of truly great love.

I’m one of those people who look away in cinemas when the film gets too disturbing, and there were moments in this book when I had to do just that.

The chairman of the judging panel called it ‘a masterpiece’ but don’t let that put you off. The Narrow Road to the Deep North isn’t a difficult book, it’s a beautiful, harrowing, awful book and I urge you to read it.


8 comments on “Please read this

  1. monsoonwendy
    October 16, 2014

    Deb, I value your opinion so very much and will read this book! How fantastic that he won this prize. I loved so many of his other books but must confess to feeling a bit daunted about this one. But….I will read it. Loved your last blog post too but haven’t got around to thank you for it!!! Glad you are working on patience! Huge hugs, Wendy


  2. debhuntinbrokenhill
    October 16, 2014

    I haven’t read anything else of his but I will now! It really isn’t a difficult book to read and so rewarding when you do. Absolutely loved your scarecrow by the way! x


  3. bkpyett
    October 16, 2014

    Thank you for this recommendation. I have every intention of reading this. I admire Richard Flanagan so much and am thrilled to bits that he won the Booker Prize. 🙂


    • debhuntinbrokenhill
      October 16, 2014

      This book sat on our shelves at home for many months before I finally picked it up, and then it was only because I had to find three books to recommend for book club so I decided to pick three books I hadn’t got around to reading. I’m SO glad this was one of them, like finding a hidden treasure. He has my greatest admiration.


  4. Carricklass
    October 16, 2014

    OK, so I’ll have to give it a go…. heard him talk about it before the prizegiving ceremony. He even read a piece and I wasn’t captured. It is daunting to recommend a particular book, especially one you enjoyed so much. Recently I recommended we read “A small tree grows in Brooklyn”, which I adored when I first read it. Still love it, but the reaction was indifference, no love!


  5. debhuntinbrokenhill
    October 16, 2014

    Yes I know it’s a risk to give such a strong endorsement but it had a such an impact on me I couldn’t help it. For once I posted without too much thought and without holding back, I could live to regret it but never mind, life’s short and we all have to follow our instinct at times!


  6. pbmgarden
    October 16, 2014

    Thanks for your recommendation Deb. I’ve been seeing this title every once in a while and have been intrigued, but now I’m motivated to read it. It’s wonderful when a book makes such an impression.


  7. debhuntinbrokenhill
    October 24, 2014

    Hope you’re as impressed as I was, it’s nerve-wracking to make a recommendation but I couldn’t help myself!


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This entry was posted on October 16, 2014 by and tagged , , .

I'm a writer based in Australia with a passion for gardening, remote places and people with a story to tell.

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