Nelida Nassar 10.15.2014
Australian Richard Flanagan awarded the prestigious 2014 Man Booker Prize for fiction
for his sixth novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, a love story that chronicle the experiences of a surgeon who has been imprisoned on the Burma Death Railway, a Japanese war camp during World War II. The author (born in 1961 in the island of Tasmania) relied on the experience of his father, a former prisoner of a Japanese camp who died at the age of 100 when the author had just completed the book. Philosopher and Booker chair A.C. Grayling called it “the sort of book that kicks you so hard in the stomach.” Australia Opposition Leader Bill Shorten congratulated the author stated that his book is “a complex and nuanced story of one of the most traumatic periods of Australia’s wartime history.”
Issued from a family with “no literary culture,” Flanagan said, at the time of the release of his first novel Death of a River Guide, “My father has an incredible way with words. He quickly realized that if you did not know how to be eloquent, you can be oppressed and liberated if you are.”
The history of Tasmania inspired several of Richard Flanagan novels, such as The Sound of One Hand Clapping, 1997 and the Gould’s Book of Fish: A Novel in Twelve Fish, 2001. However, Wanting, 2008 speak about the terrorism paranoia in today’s Australia. Flanagan single handedly had a notion of how to improve his island state’s infamous reputation as the gulag of the British Empire and a site for the slaughter of Aborigines by Europeans. He first succeeded by the creation of biennial Tasmania Pacific Region Prize, for an author from Australia, New Zealand or Melanesia then with his own gripping novels that the Man Booker prize just rewarded.