I’ve read several excellent novels this year, including Marilyn Robinson’s justly acclaimed Lila, but the novel that truly dazzled me was Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North. The writing throughout is superb, and at times so vivid that I felt unmoored from my own world and completely in the author’s. The questions the novel tackles are the big ones, including what are the best and worst of what we humans can be, or become. Flanagan’s book blasts apart the canard that realism in fiction is played out. The Narrow Road to the Deep North is not a perfect novel, but I believe it is a great one. As J.M. Coetzee says of the fiction that truly matters, “it is the battle pitched on the highest ground.” More from A Year in Reading 2014 Don't miss: A Year in Reading 2013, 2012, 2011, 2010, 2009, 2008, 2007, 2006, 2005 The good stuff: The Millions' Notable articles The motherlode: The Millions' Books and Reviews Like what you see? Learn about 5 insanely easy ways to Support The Millions, and follow The Millions on Twitter, Facebook, Tumblr.