Tuesday, January 13, 2015

The Narrow Road to the Deep North

I hate war. My stomach turns at the thought of it, at pictures of it, at footage of it. I cannot believe that people give up their lives to fight for our country and our freedom. I'm forever in their debt.

I had a great uncle who was a POW in WWII. As with most men who survived such ordeals, they never really spoke about what happened and it was never really a topic of conversation in our family.

Richard Flanagan wrote The Narrow Road To The Deep North and won the Man Booker Prize 2014. I've literally just finished reading it. It has taken me two weeks, and this past weekend I went to the Australian War Memorial to see Ben Quilty's paintings from his time as a war artist in Afghanistan.

They are overwhelming and outstanding and incredible, as is all of Ben's work. He is a national treasure. My art teacher one day paid me the highest complement by saying I was applying paint like Ben Quilty.

Back to my point: Flanagan's book, although a novel, makes the Thai-Burma railway come to life for those who had family there but never really heard how horrific it was. I am forever in his debt.

While I was at the AWM on Saturday and got a copy of my great uncle's war record. There is much more research to be done.

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