The Gift of Rain

The Gift of Rain

Book - 2008
Average Rating:
12
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The recipient of extraordinary acclaim from critics and the bookselling community, Tan Twan Eng's debut novel casts a powerful spell and has garnered comparisons to celebrated wartime storytellers Somerset Maugham and Graham Greene. Set during the tumult of World War II, on the lush Malayan island of Penang, The Gift of Rain tells a riveting and poignant tale about a young man caught in the tangle of wartime loyalties and deceits.

In 1939, sixteen-year-old Philip Hutton-the half-Chinese, half-English youngest child of the head of one of Penang's great trading families-feels alienated from both the Chinese and British communities. He at last discovers a sense of belonging in his unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. Philip proudly shows his new friend around his adored island, and in return Endo teaches him about Japanese language and culture and trains him in the art and discipline of aikido. But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. When the Japanese savagely invade Malaya, Philip realizes that his mentor and sensei-to whom he owes absolute loyalty-is a Japanese spy. Young Philip has been an unwitting traitor, and must now work in secret to save as many lives as possible, even as his own family is brought to its knees.

Publisher: New York : Weinstein Books, c2008
Edition: 1st U.S. ed. --
ISBN: 9781602860247
1602860246
Branch Call Number: FIC Eng 3564
Characteristics: 435 p. :,maps

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e
exlibrarian
Jul 03, 2017

Beautifully written. Engrossing war story set in an area that I knew little about.

l
ladiablesse
Oct 22, 2016

This book is a puzzle, but not in a good way. Its high marks from readers feel unearned. I found the prose too ornate for the divided loyalties of its protagonist, whom I felt Eng used as a symbol without really inhabiting the complexities he imposed. The relationship between Philip and Endo-san also seemed too constrained by convention; for the longest time, I felt I was reading a more high-flown "Karate Kid." I wish the book were a more blunt, less fatalistic tale; the second WW conflict in Asia is a wellspring of fascination. But this book is the Merchant Ivory of fiction: high production values and exotic locations without the more uncomfortable probing that would transform a well enough crafted period saga into a work of real, imagined literature.

s
scrubble4
May 13, 2016

Compelling story with excellent writing. Tan's writing evokes emotions, images and understanding. I look forward to reading his second novel.

If you like just stories, this will appeal. It is full of complex relationships discovered, discarded and re-engaged in a context anyone would find challenging to their values.

Thoroughly enjoyed it.

h
HEFFCO53
May 01, 2015

I was disappointed in this book. I had read his second book "The garden of evening mists" and it thought it was a lot better. I find that the description of his characters a little wanting and I find it difficult to actually visualize then because they aren't that well described. As far as the history of what happened in world war 11 that was the only part of the book that I found to be interesting.

f
Fairmary
Feb 06, 2015

I enjoyed this book; Tan's writing is beautiful and so evocative in his descriptions of Penang before and during WWII and during the Japanese Occupation. I found myself seeking out additional information to learn more about this time and the impact on the Chinese and British communities in Penang. Also learned a bit about Japanese martial arts. The heard of the story is the complex relationship between the young man, Phillip, and his Japanese mentor. I found myself thinking about (and puzzled by) the relationship long after I finished the book.

s
sseaburg
Jan 09, 2014

This book is worth reading if only for the beauty of it. And the story is captivating as well. The descriptive phrases put you in tropical Penang, in the midst of WWII. It is a fascinating story that begs the question of how much 'cooperation' and 'compromise' is too much? Does the end justify the means? This book will keep you thinking about these and other dilemmas, long after you finish it.

p
pokano
Dec 03, 2013

One of the better books I've ever read. Tan Twan Eng makes Penang come alive in this tale of a half-Chinese, half-English young man who, after coming under the influence of a Japanese aikido master, decides to work for the Japanese during their occupation of Malaya, much to the horror of his family and friends. A story about family, race, friendship, and war.

m
Minnetonka_Library
Sep 11, 2013

The author's first novel and one that was long-listed for the Booker Prize. Set in Malaysia primarily during World War II and deals with the Japanese occupation. One of my 2013 favorites

b
bigreader69
Sep 06, 2013

August 2014

b
bigreader69
Sep 06, 2013

August 2014

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