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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

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6214615,671 (4.08)1 / 203
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. 20
    An Artist of the Floating World by Kazuo Ishiguro (bibliobibuli)
    bibliobibuli: The Gift of Rain was greatly influenced by this book.
  2. 10
    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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Young Phillip unknowingly becomes a traitor to his small Malayan island. He is born of a mixed race family so he is an outsider from the beginning, even in his own family. He therefore must find secret ways to save the people he loves and the community he grew up in. This is a novel of wartime lies and wartime loyalties. It is also about finding who one can trust in trying and unspeakable times. The writing in the novel is poetic. It is so well written and flows so smoothly. The characters are all very well written, even the ones we come to loathe so much. I generally read WWII novels taking place in Europe, so this was a great choice to diverge from that path. Malaya is the authors' homeland and it is obvious by the way the novel is written. The descriptions are wonderful. ( )
  bnbookgirl | Aug 10, 2015 |
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.
  rhactor | Jul 9, 2015 |
A book that swept me up and yet....

My rating of the book kept changing from 5 to 3 stars and I finally settled on 4 - the language was usually gorgeous - at times exceptional - yet sometimes almost overdone - This is the story of a biracial British/Chinese teen in Malaya who doesn't fit in with family or community - he develops a remarkable relationship with his sensai (teacher of the martial arts) and that relationship which evolves in many intricate ways is my favorite aspect of the story - once the Japanese invade, the protagonist accepts a painful and deeply conflicted role, once again caught in a clash of cultures.

As this was the author's first novel, it is hard to take issue with such an accomplished piece of writing. However, I was surprised by the main character's lack of emotion during a few extremely painful moments - people very close to him died, and Phillip seemed to take it all in without much feeling - as that continued, I became less enthralled with the story as his reactions seemed strange and almost jarring to me. ( )
  njinthesun | May 21, 2015 |
A beautifully evocative book ( )
  LouieAndTheLizard | Jan 2, 2015 |
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 |
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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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Myrmidon Books

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