Richard Flanagan’s Booker Prize-nominated The Narrow Road to the Deep North (Knopf) follows the building of the Burma-Siam Railway under the Japanese during WWII. The number of people who died in the process, Flanagan notes, exceeds the number of words filling the pages of his novel. His father was one of the survivors. Literature is amoral, he says. It took him twelve years to find the proper form for his novel (he discarded five versions along the way): his solution is a love-story that borrows the title of a travelogue by 17th century Japanese poet Basho.
Read an excerpt of The Narrow Road to the Deep North.