SBR: Man Booker Prize notwithstanding The Narrow Road to the Deep North is incredibly pointless in the first 200 pages. And it’s not like these pointless pages make more sense after the book does get interesting. Most of those pages should simply not have been there. They are devoted to stretching out a love story in a way that neither arouses sympathy, nor repulsion. It’s just pages after pages of boredom and heavy-handed writing trying to elevate mundane to mystic and failing. When the book comes to its actual subject, the treatment of prisoners of wars in the Japanese camps during WWII, it is quite riveting. You can have a vicarious experience of the horrors, the contradictions, and the futility of life and war through this book.
To read or not to read: It’s too long and if you are not a fast reader, it may not be the best use of your time. These subjects have been covered in other better-written books. But if you are fine spending with a lackluster attempt at romance to get to the point, this is a Man Booker Prize-winning book; so treat yourself to the intellectual indulgence.