american history / book blog / book reviews / books / historical fiction

Sunday Scoop

Under the Sun

By Justin Kerr-Smiley

14571703Hello to all my book reading friends out there!! I don’t know about you guys out there, but I am beginning to wonder if the snow is ever going to end?? Yesterday around 3PM the snow machine started up again!! Not a lot of accumulation, but under the snow was some ice, made for interesting driving and a lot of accidents nearby. Today it is starting to melt again. It is hard to keep up with.

This book was one that I checked out of the local library. I have been reading physical books lately. It seems to be a phase I am going  through. This edition was published Nov. 12,2013. There are a couple of other editions that were published prior to this one. I enjoy reading about WWII and this one caught my eye.

Under the Sun is set in the closing stages of World War Two in the South Pacific. Flight Lieutenant Edward Strickland is a young RAF Spitfire pilot flying sorties over the Carolines and their outlying atolls. On a dawn patrol he is shot down attacking a submarine and ends up on a remote island occupied by a small Japanese garrison, that has remained undetected throughout the war. The garrison’s commander Captain Tadashi Hayama brutally interrogates his captive and a battle of wills develops between the two men. The scene is set for a contest where there will only be one victor. But events take an unexpected turn and the island becomes, for a while, a kind of Eden. The war is a distant memory that has no relevance to the rhythms and echoes of island life. Yet beyond its shores danger lurks and Japan’s capitulation after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leads to a climactic end that shatters the idyll forever. “[An] accomplished literary war novel. . . Kerr-Smiley’s passionate tale should convince readers that remarkable, as well as horrific, things can happen in the midst of war.”–Publishers Weekly, Aug. 30, 2013.

While I enjoyed this book, I don’t think that it is entirely believable. I had a hard time believing that Edward would become friends with the Japanese Captain. I feel that this is highly unlikely. I also had to wonder about how he was severely beaten and then all of a sudden he was vigorously swimming out to a shipwreck off shore and rock climbing? He must have had a miraculous recovery? Even if there were no broken bones do you know how bad salt water burns open wounds? Well setting these things aside, the book itself is not bad. It is a story of a friendship built on respect. I think that the writer was trying to show us that anything is possible. This is a very different story of WWII. I have not read many books that are set in the Pacific. The descriptions of the island and it’s isolation do give you a sort of surreal feeling. This is a short book and I read it in one day!! A good premise for a story and a different take on things, but perhaps a little underdeveloped. I give this book 3 out of 5 stars.

 

 

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