Can I Critique a Man Booker Award Winner?

NarrowRoadDeepNorth

Sure! Just like anyone can critique your books and my books (and boy have they!). It’s really that simple, right? In a country that loves to tout it’s freedoms, there’s an abundance of people willing to give you their $0.02. Sometimes that criticism is based in knowledge and understanding. Sometimes it isn’t, but the fact remains that it’s everyone’s prerogative to provide commentary on the written word.

So, mine happens to be about a Man Booker Award winner and the book is The Narrow Road to the Deep North. Let me start out by saying that the book is written very well. The command of language is clear and the author’s ability to describe emotion and conflict is outstanding. Really well done. The story deftly jumps back and forth between present and past and closer past. I was really enjoying it. Then, this historical fiction suddenly became a romance. Was it part of the story? Yes. But, it became so flowery and fanciful that it really pulled me out of the flow.

It hasn’t stopped me reading. In fact, it pushed me to get back to the good stuff and I’m glad I did. Flanagan has a lot to say about life. But, now that I’m 4/5 of the way through, I keep scratching my head about those 3-4 chapters. They’re part of a pivotal plot point, so it’s not like they’re superfluous. It’s the approach I didn’t like. It was the sense that I’d started reading another book in that section and the all-too-obvious ending fell flat.

I started reading this because one reviewer made a comparison to Cormac McCarthy’s The Road, one of my all-time favorites. Doesn’t grip me the way that book did, but it’s still a fine read. It’s subject matter isn’t pleasant though, so be careful. WWII POW slave camps described in every wretched detail. It’s horrific and haunting. If you do happen to read it, or have already read it, let me know if the romance throws you off as it did me.

Christmas is only 3 days away! Can you believe it? 😀 

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