Richard Flanagan has won the Man Booker Award for his sixth novel, The Narrow Road to the Deep North, (RH/Knopf; Blackstone Audio), described by the judges as a “magnificent novel of love and war.” He was featured in August on NPR’s Weekend Edition Sunday.
Seattle librarian David Wright praised it last month in the Seattle Times. In the Washington Post, critic Ron Charles reacted strongly to it, warning readers that it can, “cast a shadow over your summer and draw you away from friends and family into dark contemplation the way only the most extraordinary books can. Nothing since Cormac McCarthy’s The Road has shaken me like this — all the more so because it’s based on recorded history, rather than apocalyptic speculation.”
In the daily New York Times, however, Michiko Kakutani called it “adeeply flawed,” but appreciated Flanagan’s ability to “communicate both the abominations that men are capable of inflicting upon one another, and the resilience many display in the face of utter misery.”
Flanagan is Australian. This was the first year that the Awards were opened to Americans. Four were on the longlist and two made the transition to the shortlist of six; Joshua Ferris, To Rise Again at a Decent Hour, Hachette/Little,Brown) and Karen Joy Fowler, We Are All Completely Beside Ourselves, (Penguin/Putnam/Marian Wood).
Historically, Booker winners have gone on to become best sellers in the U.S. UPDATE: The Narrow Road to the Deep North, rose to #16 on Amazon’s sales rankings the day after the announcement.