The beauty of a book club

The narrow road to the deep north

My book club members come up with suggestions for books I would never normally read.

That’s the beauty of a book club.

Mine is run out of the local library, and headed by a well-known journalist, Mary Soderstrom.

Mary does a great job of giving us background on the author, so we have a context before we begin our monthly discussions.

Our book for November is The Narrow Road to the Deep North by Richard Flanagan.

I finished it last night.

This book, for me, is about the unpredictability of cruelty that can exist in our lives.

The book is mostly set in a Japanese POW camp during WWII.

Richard’s writing style is both poetic and raw. I had not read any of his work before, and I liked his writing style from the very beginning.

The pictures he helped create in my mind were often graphic and disturbing, not only for their violence and depravity, but for the nonsensical meaninglessness of the POW existence.

He used the backdrop of being a POW to highlight how we’re often prisoners in our own lives, and thereafter in our own minds.

He juxtaposed this helplessness with a love affair, and with the discussion of what love is, and what love isn’t.

I liked very much that Richard didn’t answer a lot of the questions he brought up.

He made it clear that perception is everything, and that our perceptions can change on a dime. As they did with a number of characters near the end of his book.

The elasticity of memory and therefore our perceptions of past events is pivotal to how we move forward and conduct our everyday future.

I highly recommend Richard’s book for its raw beauty and honesty.

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