The Gift of Rain Author:Tan Twan Eng, Twan Eng Tan This work is set in Penang, 1939. Sixteen-year-old Philip Hutton is a loner. Half English, half Chinese and feeling neither, he discovers a sense of belonging in an unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat. Philip shows his new friend around his adored island of Penang, and in return Endo trains him in the art and discipline o... more »f aikido. But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. The enigmatic Endo is bound by disciplines of his own and when the Japanese invade Malaya, threatening to destroy Philip's family and everything he loves, he realises that his trusted sensei - to whom he owes absolute loyalty - has been harbouring a devastating secret. Philip must risk everything in an attempt to save those he has placed in mortal danger and discover who and what he really is. With masterful and gorgeous narrative, replete with exotic and captivating images, sounds and aromas - of rain swept beaches, magical mountain temples, pungent spice warehouses, opulent colonial ballrooms and fetid and forbidding rainforests - Tan Twan Eng weaves a haunting and unforgettable story of betrayal, barbaric cruelty, steadfast courage and enduring love.« less
This is a very hard book to read because of its content, particularly toward the 2nd half; it is beautifully written, the love of the young man for his home so vivid, the descriptions so real you felt yourself there at every scene, and the title so very appropriate. The events that take place after Japanese occupation were so hard to read I had to take that last half in small increments they were so overpowering. But worth reading? Oh, yes.