Saturday, August 31
Book Review: Under the Sun
Author: Justin Kerr-Smiley
Summary: Under the Sun is set in the closing stages of World War Two in the South Pacific. Flight Lieutenant Edward Strickland is a young RAF Spitfire pilot flying sorties over the Carolines and their outlying atolls. On a dawn patrol he is shot down attacking a submarine and ends up on a remote island occupied by a small Japanese garrison, that has remained undetected throughout the war. The garrison's commander Captain Tadashi Hayama brutally interrogates his captive and a battle of wills develops between the two men. The scene is set for a contest where there will only be one victor. But events take an unexpected turn and the island becomes, for a while, a kind of Eden. The war is a distant memory that has no relevance to the rhythms and echoes of island life. Yet beyond its shores danger lurks and Japan's capitulation after the bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki, leads to a climactic end that shatters the idyll forever.
My Rating: 7/10
What I liked/disliked about the book: A slightly slow start, but it became an interesting story of friendship, so to speak, in the times of war. It was interesting, how the author brought the two characters together, but I think he did a good job at creating their "friendship". It wasn't a traditional friendship, but one of mutual respect and bonds among men at war. It was very different than what I have read - especially in similar war time books, but I do think the author created this bond naturally and realistically. It's hard to explain exactly what it is they do have, without spoiling, but the author did a good job in this aspect of the book.
I didn't like the narrative, as I found it didn't exactly engage the reader too much. There wasn't much to keep me reading as far as that went, and even the story itself didn't always hold me. While I enjoyed the story, I never got the feeling to keep reading and the book was easy to put down. I enjoyed the ending, but I felt it ended too quickly. The ending was a perfect fit to the book, but it was a little abrupt, I felt there needed to be just little more there, to give it that extra push.
Not a bad book in the end, worth reading but not a favourite of mine.
Would I recommend it to read: I would, I think a lot of historical fiction readers would enjoy this one.
What to read next: I'd focus on WWII stories, similar to this one, ones that take a bit of a side road to the central aspect of the war, but still show the war's influence.
Challenges: 100 Books Challenge, New Author Challenge.
Note: I received a copy of this book from the publisher.