Saturday, August 11, 2012
"Talk to me please, Mr. Sun" Song lyrics
The story opens when the protagonist, Jim, age eleven, is with his parents at an early Christmas event in Shanghai. It is held at the residence of the President of the British Resident's Association.
Chinese refugees and beggars are everywhere in Shanghai and the other residents become immune to their plight. As Jim's family leaves their home to attend the Christmas festivities, their driver runs over the foot of an elderly beggar. The driver doesn't stop the car and it is as if the beggar was not a real person but an object of war.
That night, the Japanese attack both a U.S. and and English ship at the Shanghai harbor and war officially begins.
Jim becomes separated from his parents and observes life in a war zone with complete detachment. It is as if he has become separated from the events before him. He passes dead bodies left in the road and spends time at the vacated home of his parents and their friends enjoying his adventure until the food is used up.
He becomes somewhat concerned for himself and eventually surrenders to the Japanese, ending up at the Lunghua Interment Camp.
The story is written in an analytic style, the story does seem to be more of a memoir.
I did enjoy Jim's fascination with flying and his desire by the end of the war, to become a kamikaze pilot in Okinawa but felt his uncaring attitude toward his parents safety to be unlikely.
It did show a part of life with civilians during WWII that was interesting and I enjoyed that.