Empire of the Sun

by J.G. Ballard | Literature & Fiction |
ISBN: 0671556460 Global Overview for this book
Registered by bookguide of Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on 9/14/2011
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1 journaler for this copy...
Journal Entry 1 by bookguide from Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Wednesday, September 14, 2011
The adventures of a young boy in wartime Shanghai, separated from his parents and forced to survive at first by foraging in the abandoned houses of expats. Later he falls in with an American black marketeer and their only chance of survival is to be captured by the Japanese, and sent to an internment camp, under atrocious conditions. Based on the author's experiences, and wonderfully filmed, this book is on the list of '1001 books to read before you die'.

Journal Entry 2 by bookguide at Wijchen, Gelderland Netherlands on Sunday, September 18, 2011
If it hadn't been for the wonderful film of 'Empire of the Sun', I might never have wanted to read the book, which would have been a shame, as I loved the book as much as I love the film! It describes the confusion in Shanghai that followed the bombardment of Pearl Harbour and the Japanese invasion of the city. Our hero, James, believes that he may in some way have been responsible for starting the fighting, and throughout the book, extraordinary things seem to happen to him. He discovers that it's not as easy as he expects to get yourself arrested by the Japanese and interred in a concentration camp, but that if you are resourceful and observant, you can survive anything. It is interesting to compare how the visual nature of certain scenes in the film made a lasting impression on me, but were not so strong in the book. One of the things which sticks in my mind from the film was the young kamikaze pilot, and this seems to have been distilled from several incidents in the book, where it is not described so powerfully. Other people and incidents in the film left a distinct impression which I missed in the book, such as the abandoned pianos and other possessions. On the other hand, the apathy and selfishness of the British prisoners struck me in the book, whereas I had missed (or forgotten) this in the film.

I thoroughly enjoyed the book and I shall be adding it to my permanent collection. I also think it's time to watch the film with my family.

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