Thursday, February 1, 2007

Review: Empire of the Sun by J.D. Ballard

A few years ago, my brother-in-law said this was one of the best books he had ever read. My brother in law is a schoolteacher who spends his life extolling the virtues of reading. He's been buying my kids books since they were born, and he isn't given to lavish praise. So it really struck me when he gave this book such high praise.

I've had the paperback for awhile, and just haven't picked it up. Recently I did, and boy am I ever glad. Set in China during World War II, it is the story of a British boy who gets separated from his parents in the days after the bombing of Pearl Harbor. The rest of the book tells the story of his ordeals in the camps that the British and Americans were put into, and his survival without parents.

The most heartbreaking part is that although this is a novel, the writer says in the beginning that it is his own recollection of what happened to him as a teenager. It was made into a Steven Spielberg movie, but don't miss this book just because you saw the movie. It's gripping, well-written and eye opening. I don't know if I'd say it's one of the "best" books I've ever read, but I'd definitely recommend reading it.

4 comments:

Literary Feline said...

Lisa, I am so glad you enjoyed Empire of the Sun. The movie is one of my all time favorites and I finally got around to reading the novel a couple of years ago. It was well worth it.

3M said...

I love, love, love this movie! I'll have to read the book some day!

Sheri said...

I haven't read this, but the movie is on my all time favorites list. The soundtrack is unbelievable.

Orange Blossom Goddess (aka Heather) said...

What happened to his parents?!?!?!