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The Gift Of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
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The Gift Of Rain (original 2007; edition 2007)

by Tan Twan Eng

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5924216,592 (4.09)164
Member:a.m.free
Title:The Gift Of Rain
Authors:Tan Twan Eng
Info:Myrmidon (2007), Paperback, 448 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****
Tags:historical, WWII, Malaysia

Work details

The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng (2007)

  1. 10
    An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (bibliobibuli)
    bibliobibuli: The Gift of Rain was greatly influenced by this book.
  2. 00
    The Samurai's Garden by Gail Tsukiyama (Limelite)
    Limelite: Another young interracial Chinese boy's coming of age during WWII, only this one is set in Japan.
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Set in Malaysia at the onset of WWII, The Gift of Rain is less a story about war than a story about divided loyalties. But, then again, maybe a lot of war stories are about exactly that, because there is nothing like war to make folks run to one side or the other, then question why they are there.

Phillip,a teenager when the story begins, is more torn that most, as he is half-English, half-Chinese, a Malay native with a Japanese sensei. When the Japanese invade, the bond between Phillip and his sensei becomes the heart of the conflict, bringing forward all that the boy desires, and all that he cannot have.

The writing is splendid; the prose is rich and warm, and the lush descriptions of the island are spectacular. A lovely, deep book with a fresh perspective on love and tragedy. ( )
  SonjaYoerg | Oct 1, 2014 |
Some very good writing, but overall it is too long and slow. ( )
  Alirob | Sep 16, 2014 |
This book a young Eurasian man's coming-of-age in the midst of the Japanese occupation of Malaysia. It is centered on his struggle with divided loyalties - to his dual heritage, to his family, to the Japanese sensei whom he loves, and who both used him cruelly, yet loved him and his country.

I felt the strength, yet delicacy of the writing. The story as both beautiful and barbarous. I don't think I've ever read another like it.

It was exqisite, and I highly recommend it. ( )
  bookwoman247 | Dec 28, 2013 |
A superb story filled with lush imagery and deep emotional and psychological drama.

The Gift of Rain is the story of Philip Hutton. A 16 year old of half British/half Chinese parentage living in 1939 Penang (Malaysia). It appears Philip's inability to feel connected to either side of his heritage has resulted in him becoming a withdrawn, detached individual, It is while in this fragile psychological state he meets Hayato Endo a Japanese official who becomes his mentor/teacher in the ways of the Japanese culture and particularly in their style of fighting called aikido

What ensues from this meeting is Philip's story.

The reader is taken on a odyssey through Philip's life and relationship with his Sensei Endo-San and the Japanese invaders. Tan Twan Eng's writing is clear, concise and richly detailed. A story line is created that puts not only the protagonist but the reader on an emotional roller-coaster. Philip is thrust into an arena to battle conflicting emotions and values. The subjects of family, loyalty and most importantly duty are the many battles that Philip seems to neither win nor lose. On a deeper subtext is the concept of reincarnation and destiny and can our past mistakes be corrected.

A hypnotic read with a great story line, deep characterizations, and seductive prose. Mr. Eng's novel will leave you breathless, sorrowful, angry, contemplative, frustrated.

Why only 4 stars and not 5? The story was slow in the beginning but well worth the wait. ( )
  NancyNo5 | Oct 13, 2013 |
An excellent, expressive, and moving book. The author completely immerses the reader in the time and place of southeast Asia prior to and during the Japanese invasion and occupation of Malaysia. The first half of the book was influenced by a foreboding sense of tragedy and doom. Possibly this was just my feeling but I think the author wrote the book with that in mind. The pace of the narration picked up once the invasion took place - as did the action. In the end this is a tale of devotion, loyalty, and sadness - for country, family, and friends. ( )
  labdaddy4 | Oct 10, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 41 (next | show all)
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Book description
This remarkable debut saga of intrigue and akido flashes back to a darkly opulent WWII-era Malaya. Phillip Hutton, 72, lives in serene Penang comfort, occasionally training students as an akido master teacher of teachers. A visit from Michiko Murakami sends him spiraling back into his past, where he grows up the alienated half-British, half-Chinese son of a wealthy Penang trader in the years before WWII. When Hutton's father and three siblings leave him to run the family company one summer, he befriends a mysterious Japanese neighbor named Mr. Endo. Japan is on the opposing side of the coming war, but Endo paradoxically opts to train Hutton in the ways of aikido, in what both men come to see as the fulfillment of a prophecy that has haunted them for several lifetimes. When the Japanese army invades Malaya, chaos reigns, and Phillip makes a secret, very profitable deal. He cannot, however, offset the costs of his friendship with Endo. Eng's characters are as deep and troubled as the time in which the story takes place, and he draws on a rich palette to create a sprawling portrait of a lesser explored corner of the war. Hutton's first-person narration is measured, believable and enthralling.
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"The Gift of Rain is the story of Philip Hutton and the haunting tragedies that befall him when he becomes entangled in a web of wartime loyalties and deceits. In 1939, at the outset of World War II, sixteen- year-old Philip is a lonely outsider on the lush Malayan island of Penang. Alienated from his community and family, he at last discovers a sense of belonging through an unexpected friendship with another outsider -- a foreign diplomat whose true purpose on the island will ultimately bring unspeakable devastation. When Philip discovers he has been an unwitting traitor to his homeland and its people, he must work in secret to save as many lives as possible, even as his own family is torn apart. At once harrowing and luminous, Tan Twan Eng's celebrated debut novel is a thrilling epic and a true literary page-turner."--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

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