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King rat by James Clavell

King rat (original 1962; edition 1975)

by James Clavell

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2,056313,238 (3.97)109
Title:King rat
Authors:James Clavell
Info:London : Coronet, 1975.
Collections:LT connections, Read but unowned

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King Rat by James Clavell (1962)


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Showing 1-5 of 28 (next | show all)
This is a very moving and touching story. ( )
  hredwards | Jul 4, 2016 |
2.5 really - too YA ( )
  jkdavies | Jun 14, 2016 |
Like _Hiroshima Joe_, this book provides the reader with an intimate description of a Japanese prison camp during WW2. Grizzly in its detail, we can only be grateful that we only have to read about this hell. ( )
  dbsovereign | Jan 26, 2016 |
I really enjoyed this book as a young teen. I read it in 7th grade and then again in 9th. Not sure how I'd feel about it today as a middle-aged man with years and years of reading under his belt, but I suspect it might hold up fairly well. ( )
  RalphLagana | Jan 23, 2016 |
King Rat - James Clavell *****

This is the first novel by Clavell that I have read. When I picked it up I didn’t realise that it was part of a group of six books he published called the ‘Asian Saga’. Although it was the first written, if placed in chronological order it is actually the fourth in the series. However, I don’t think there is any tenuous link that means it has to be slotted into the order of reading at a certain point. King Rat was written in 1962 but set towards the latter end of WWII, and is based upon a number of the authors own experiences.

What is it about?
The story is set in the Pacific, and focuses on a group of allied prisoners currently imprisoned in a Japanese camp called Changi. The harsh and intolerable conditions meant that only 1 man in 15 had the strength to make it through to see peacetime. As with normal everyday life the social structure of the camp makes up the bulk of the plot, where the human condition is such that many will do anything they can to survive, and some even make a living out of it. King Rat is an American soldier who doesn’t conform to normal camp standards, he is always immaculately dressed, has plenty of food and a small army of followers. How long can he maintain this way of life? With Jealousy rife and the camp guards always on the lookout it can only be a matter of time before the King becomes a peasant.

What did I like?
The descriptions of camp life are second to none; it’s hard to believe sometimes that this is a work of fiction. You feel the prisoners pain as yet another dose of dysentery racks their already emaciated bodies. You experience the British officer’s resentment as they are reduced to wearing rags while their subordinates have clean pressed clothes. You wince at the brutality of the guards as punishment is dished out again and again. Clavell is a writer that is not afraid to pull any punches and I respect him for that.

What didn’t I like?
There really wasn’t anything to criticise. This is one of the best books I’ve read for a long time

Would I recommend?
I can’t speak for any other of Clavell’s books, but I can certainly recommend this one. I can’t wait to try some more of his. ( )
  Bridgey | Dec 29, 2015 |
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There was a war. Changi and Utram Road jails in Singapore do - or did - exist. Obviously the rest of this story is fiction, and no similarity to anyone living or dead exists or is intended.
For Those Who Were There
And Are Not,
For Those Who Were There And Are.
For Him. But Most,
For Her.
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Changi was set like a pearl on the eastern tip of Singapore Island, iridescent under the bowl of tropical skies.
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At a Japanese prisoner camp during World War II, an American corporal seeks dominance over captives and captors alike, using courage, knowledge of human weaknesses, and willingness to exploit every opportunity to enlarge his power and corrupt or destroy anyone who stands in his way.… (more)

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