Only one book last month. It was long and heavy. The book and the month.
Busy at work left me mentally exhausted. And, again, the description is interchangeable with the book. I had to pause and pause again. I had to skip a particularly savage section to which I returned after I finished the book.
This novel is an amazing read. Both detailed in its focus on particular moments and sweeping across time; lyrical in language and brutal with extreme violence; rich, round believable, human characters. There’s love and romance ad human connection and disconnection.
But the Japanese treatment of POWs on the Burmese Railway is horrendous and sickening. And the end of the war couldn’t come swift and sharp enough.
Let me share an extract totally unrelated to the war:
It did not fit with the new age of conformity that was coming in all things, even emotions, and it baffled him how people now touched each other excessively and talked about their problems as though naming life in some way described its mystery or denied its chaos. He felt the withering of something, the way risk was increasingly evaluated and, as much as possible, eliminated, replaced with a bland new world where the viewing of food preparation would be felt to be more moving than reading poetry; where excitement would come from paying for soup made out of foraged grass. He had eaten soup out of foraged grass in the camps; he preferred food.
I liked this description of celebrities as people you would not wish to know.
Would the editing out of the graphic violence perpetrated by the Japanese make this a lesser novel? It definitely would make it more palatable. But the nightmares I suffered were obviously nothing compared to what the POWs suffered.
Why do the powerful always get off? Eg the emperor. And how could the Japanese soldiers , the hierarchy live with themselves? Those who got off.