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Tanamera by Noel Barber
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Tanamera (original 1981; edition 1984)

by Noel Barber

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151479,164 (4)10
Member:lkernagh
Title:Tanamera
Authors:Noel Barber
Info:HODDER STOUGHTON (1984), Paperback
Collections:Read but unowned, Favorites
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Tanamera by Noel Barber (1981)

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Writers don't seem to write books like this anymore, which is a very sad thing. This was a fantastic book with just enough history without the history detracting from the characters in the book. I have always been interested in Singapore and this book made me want to learn even more. If you like the new trilogy from Ken Follett you will enjoy this book. I intend to seek out other books from this author. ( )
  zmagic69 | Nov 14, 2012 |
a delightful read. Historical fiction about the life of an English grandson from one of the most prominent English business families in Singapore since the early 1920s before WWII, during the Japanese occupation of Singapore, and after the British took it back from the Japanese in 1949.

This book starts off with the grandfather, having built an impressive business in Singapore and the impressive mansion he built on the island, naming it Tanamera, which in Malay, means Red Earth, for the color of the rich soil on which the house stood. It's in this house that his son and grandchildren grow up, fall in love, keep secrets, and fight to hold.

It was an interesting look at Singapore (then part of Malaya) through the eyes of the rich Englishman and the society they moved around in. Some of the buildings still exist in Singapore, thankfully without the same racial and gender prejudices during the 20s - 50s. It was fun to visualize these places and the patrons of the time. The comparison to the patrons of today is vastly different.

But it is the exploits of the grandson, one Johnny Dexter, and his antics as a child, as a teenager in (forbidden) love with a Chinese girl, as an adult, a father and then a soldier that holds our attention through the book. Touching on the horrors the islanders received at the hands of the Japanese soldiers after they invaded Malaya, this story is told from the view of an English family and what they did to fight for the country they loved. It provides a rather romantic view of the war though and it certainly doesn't delve into the gruesome horrors that the native islanders went through at the hands of the Japanese, but having said that, it did stay close to historical truths, especially the secret partnership the British formed with the Chinese Communists to sabotage the Japanese camps in the jungle, although they did turn on and attempted to hunt down these same communists after the Japanese surrendered at the end of the war. ( )
4 vote cameling | Nov 15, 2010 |
The British ruled Malaya in the pre WWII periode. Japan took over and exercised a bloody occupation.Two great dynasties[British & Chinese]fighting through the turbulent times of Singapore.Tanamera is a passionate story in the throes of change and of a love that remains.The fall of Singapore is the backround of this historical very interesting periode of WWII and after. ( )
  rudik5834 | Apr 25, 2007 |
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When Grandpa jack, as he later came to be known to everyone in Singapore, decided to build a great house that he vowed would last for a hundred years, a reporter from the Straits Times went to interview him.
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Amazon.com Product Description (ISBN 0340282622, Paperback)

The story of two lovers and two great dynasties - one British, the other Chinese - of the society that separated them and the passion that bound them.

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:51:33 -0400)

(see all 2 descriptions)

Opulence. Invasion. Terror. And forbidden passion in 1930s Singapore. Originally published: London: Coronet, 1981.

(summary from another edition)

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