No easy hope in The Narrow Road to the Deep North

‘But an easy hope is a fake one and that is far away from what Flanagan seeks to achieve in The Narrow Road to the Deep North. There are no living gods in Flanagan’s war and post-war and that must have been the feeling of many, but not all, who lived and died or lived and lived.’

Read my review of the only Australian novel to be long-listed for the Man Booker Prize at cread: reading is believing.

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Slim Moment

Mantel’s Cromwell stands amidst the past like a house burned down

It fattens your thought like cholesterol in your veins
Like tar in your lungs
The past clings to things heavily
And you carry the weight without knowing
Your fastest manoeuvre is leadened, leavened
And you blame the present
Ignoring the heavy metal armour of yesterday
But in a slim moment you glimpse
You – divested of this insulation to life
A sharper, faster, nimbler you
One that was forgotten; no, more than that
One you didn’t know existed.

Can you forego once and for all
This raking of the coals
This teasing of your soul
Your sabotage of certainty and seasons
Ah, of course there is no once and for all
That is what keeps you there, in the past
Unfinished business that can’t be finished
So unfinish it with His “Finished”
Even deadly, devout Cromwell knew as much