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After Darkness

by Christine Piper

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374551,204 (3.6)None
While working at a Japanese hospital in the pearling port of Broome, Dr Ibaraki is arrested as an enemy alien and sent to Loveday internment camp in a remote corner of South Australia. There, he learns to live among a group of men who are divided by culture and allegiance. As tensions at the isolated camp escalate, the doctor's long-held beliefs are thrown into question and he is forced to confront his dark past: the promise he made in Japan and its devastating consequences.… (more)
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This book was very well received by our reading group, but for me something was missing and I didn't find it quite so satisfying. I couldn't seem to grasp the character of the young Japanese doctor who's voice tells the story in the first person. The story of the internees in the camp in central Australia during WW2 was quite interesting but once again I couldn't seem to get a handle on the characters. The story of the doctor's life in pre-war Japan and his subsequent flight to Broome was an interesting one but it all fades out to nothing when he is chosen for a prisoner exchange to go back to Japan. Somehow this seemed to me to be an unsatisfactory and unlikely ending. Another thing I didn't like was the portrayal of the attraction between the doctor and his assistant, Bernice a nun, which remained unresolved after promising to be more. One thing I did get from the book was that when things are bottled up and left unsaid, misunderstandings and loss occur, hence the loss of his wife's love and the loss of his friendship with Bernice. ( )
  lesleynicol | Jun 26, 2015 |
I really wanted to like this novel as the subject seemed so appealing. Seeing the 2nd World War through the eyes of a Japanese doctor caught in Australia and interned. Indeed, the plot is well constructed and interesting but, for me anyway, the characters are rather opaque. There's just something lacking in the writing. It's hard to write characters who play their emotions close to their chests, and we don't feel we're getting more than a superficial access to their emotional depths. There was an opportunity, many in fact, for us to empathise deeply, but everything remains at arms length. Part of this may be a failure to convey the cross-cultural dimension accurately. References to the weather give a nice Japanese feel to some passages, but writing English dialogue for native Japanese speakers is neither natural, nor convincing. Three stars for me. ( )
  PhilipJHunt | Jun 5, 2015 |
Enjoyed this. An interesting insight into life for the Japanese in interrment camps in Australia during the second world war. ( )
  kiwifortyniner | Jan 7, 2015 |
My year's reading is off to a great start with this first novel by an award winning Australian writer. The topic of the treatment of enemy aliens in Australia during the second world war was new to me, along with the research conducted on living people by the Japanese during the war, in the name of biological warfare development.
Dr Ibaraki is working at a Japanese hospital in the pearling port of Broome, Australia, when Japan enters the Second World War. He is arrested and sent to an internment camp in South Australia. There he learns to live with a group of men who although connected by their country of origin, often differ ideologically and socially. He reflects on his reason for leaving his homeland especially when faced with his inevitable return.
Any book that has me reaching for an atlas and Google searching is a winner in my book, as it has extended my knowledge and reading experience. ( )
  HelenBaker | Jan 4, 2015 |
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While working at a Japanese hospital in the pearling port of Broome, Dr Ibaraki is arrested as an enemy alien and sent to Loveday internment camp in a remote corner of South Australia. There, he learns to live among a group of men who are divided by culture and allegiance. As tensions at the isolated camp escalate, the doctor's long-held beliefs are thrown into question and he is forced to confront his dark past: the promise he made in Japan and its devastating consequences.

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