This book is now a sentimental favorite! There is so much that made this book a wonderful experience for me. Between each chapter was a haiku. They were beautiful. My favorite...
The earth is burning.
Blackened by machines and men.
Raindrops are lost tears.
This book takes place during WWII so there was death and war, but when death strikes the characters by heart broke. I loved each and every one of them (except the traitor). It actually made some of the parts hard to read, just because I did not want to know what was enevitably going to happen. I loved the love stories... husband and wife, the love that crossed the bounds of race and war, and a man and a boy comforting each other.
A beautiful story.
This is one of the most beautifully written books I have read. Ranks right up there with Angela's Ashes. It is like floating through a poem!
John Shors has followed up his debut novel, BENEATH A MARBLE SKY with n equally wonderful book in BESIDE A BURNING SEA! This one is set during WWII on a remote island in the South Pacific. It begins with an American hospital ship being torpedoed and sunk by the Japanese with only nine survivors. Seven are Americans by birth, one is Figian and the last is Japanese.
With this group, Shors builds a story that includes love, hate, treachery, treason and joy in the midst of fear and desperation. The story of survival is amazing (yes, the 5 star word!).
When I started this book, I could sense that it would be good, but I could not conceive of just how riveting it would become and how totally invested I would become in it and the characters. I just loved it!
I really wanted to like this book, as I enjoy WWII era stories as well as Japanese culture and haiku. Unfortunately, I didn't have the same literary experience other reviewers seemed to have. I got fed up with the seemingly spineless main characters and flung the book at the wall around page 50. I didn't finish, and I cannot recommend it.