Publisher's synopsis

A novel of the cruelty of war, tenuousness of life and the impossibility of love.

August, 1943. In the despair of a Japanese POW camp on the Thai-Burma death railway, Australian 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.

This savagely beautiful novel is a story about the many forms of love and death, of war and truth, as one man comes of age, prospers, only to discover all that he has lost.

‘The Narrow Road to the Deep North is a big, magnificent novel of passion and horror and tragic irony. Its scope, its themes and its people all seem to grow richer and deeper in significance with the progress of the story, as it moves to its extraordinary resolution. It’s by far the best new novel I’ve read in ages.’ – Patrick McGrath

‘Beyond comparison . . . an immense achievement . . . Wilfred Owen wrote of his Great War verse: ‘My subject is war, and the pity of war. The poetry is in the pity.’ Flanagan’s triumph is to find poetry without any pity at all.’ – Geordie Williamson, The Australian

‘A story of war and star-crossed lovers, the novel is also a profound meditation on life and time, memory and forgetting . . . a magnificent achievement.’ – Katharine England, Adelaide Advertiser

‘A masterpiece . . . The Narrow Road is an extraordinary piece of writing and a high point in an already distinguished career.’ – Michael Williams, The Guardian


  • Winner 2014 University of Queensland Fiction Book Award
  • Winner 2014 Prime Minister’s Literary Award
  • Winner 2014 Man Booker Prize
  • Winner 2014 Western Australia Premier’s Book Award
  • Winner 2014 Western Australia Premier’s Book Award for Fiction
  • Winner 2014 Independent Booksellers Award
  • Shortlisted 2014 Christina Stead Prize for Fiction
  • Shortlisted 2014 Colin Roderick Award