Shortlisted for the 2014 Man Booker Prize
What makes a hero? Richard Flanagan’s master work tells the story of one man’s reckoning with war and love
A happy man has no past, while an unhappy man has nothing else. Dorrigo Evans is married to loyal, trusting Ella but he still takes mistresses. And he can’t shake his time as a POW on the Death Railway. Dorrigo was a surgeon, and a colonel -- the ‘Big Fella’. But Dorrigo is a war hero fully conscious of his own failings, and is haunted by what happened to his best mate, Darky Gardiner...
the camp is hard, but at first it is not insane. The Diggers march by
day and pursue amateur theatricals at night. Then the madness begins:
work quotas rise, more rock to be shifted and the Japanese guards become
Dorrigo retreats into his memories of a woman with a red camellia in her hair. Amy on the sand. Amy, hitching up her dress. His uncle’s wife, as it happens. ‘I’ll be back’ he says on the phone to Amy as his unit is mobilised, ‘When it’s over. For you Amy. And we’ll marry.’
Back in the shelter where the men take momentary rest – the jokes turn bitter. Rainy season sets in: muck and filth, one dirty rice ball a day that is food ration, and ugly deaths from cholera and infection. Jack Rainbow and Rabbit Hendricks burn on the pyre, and then Darky fails to fold his blanket correctly…
A final thin lie reaches Dorrigo at his lowest ebb. It will be many years before he learns the truth about Darky, about Amy. But for all of them on the Line – prisoners and captors – it is death that will give life, and love, its meaning.
A Note From the Publisher
UK edition – available to read in the UK, C/Wealth ex Can, ANZ.
'A huge novel, ambitious, driven, multi-stranded . . . The novel's characters, Australian and Japanese, shimmer with life; they are familiar yet finally unknowable, compromised, betrayed, fallible and credible . . . A grand, paradoxical dance that is both macabre and life affirming' Sydney Morning Herald
'Richard Flanagan is one of the most exciting novelists working anywhere, full stop' (The Age): Australian publication has received a rapturous reception, 40k copies sold of hb/tpb editions to date
Early proofs to send to Richard's fans, including: Ian McEwan, William Boyd, Geoff Dyer, Robert Macfarlane, John Burnside
Flanagan's last UK break-out was Gould's Book of Fish (2003, 40k TCM); a decade in the making, Narrow Road promises to be his next UK hit
Major author tour in preparation: strong interest from Radio 4, key London event planned and requests from major festivals already coming in