Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Imperiul Soarelui” as Want to Read:
Imperiul Soarelui
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating

Imperiul Soarelui (Empire of the Sun #1)

3.96 of 5 stars 3.96  ·  rating details  ·  9,255 ratings  ·  471 reviews
Imperiul Soarelui a fost ecranizat in 1987 de Steven Spielberg, cu John Malkovich si Christian Bale in rolurile principale. Filmul a obtinut trei premii Bafta si sase nominalizari la Oscar.

Romanul a fost nominalizat la Booker Prize si a cistigat Guardian Fiction Prize, precum si James Tait Black Memorial Prize.

Imperiul Soarelui (1984) a fost declarat inca de la aparitie un
Hardcover, 1st edition, 416 pages
Published 2006 by Polirom (first published 1984)
more details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Imperiul Soarelui, please sign up.

Popular Answered Questions

Henry Hi I'm only 16 so don't listen to me if you want sound parenting advice: I read this last year and as I remember near the end are very graphic…moreHi I'm only 16 so don't listen to me if you want sound parenting advice: I read this last year and as I remember near the end are very graphic descriptions of a variety of horrors, so if he enjoys reading that sort of thing then it's pretty good. But the movie is quite a bit better, and whitewashes the ending a bit, so just watching that instead is good. It's my favourite film directed by Spielberg so it's definitely worth a watch at only a couple of hours' viewing time versus the 500-page book.(less)
This book is not yet featured on Listopia. Add this book to your favorite list »

Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
filter  |  sort: default (?)  |  rating details
A few days ago, I learned a new Japanese word. Nijuuhibakusha means literally "twice radiation-sick individual", and refers to the few people who, through staggering bad luck, managed to be present both at Hiroshima on August 6, 1945, and then at Nagasaki three days later. The article I read was an obituary for Tsutomu Yamaguchi, the last surviving nijuuhibakusha. I was not surprised to discover that Mr. Yamaguchi was strongly opposed to nuclear weapons, and had spent a substantial part of his l ...more
K.D. Absolutely
Mar 10, 2011 K.D. Absolutely rated it 4 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to K.D. by: 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die
Shelves: 1001-core, war
I should have listened to my brother. He said last year that because Crash (1973 published) elicited strong, even if negative, reaction from me, then it meant J. G. Ballard (1930-2009) was a genius. That book was disgusting. I hated almost everything about the story. Up to now I cannot get over the characters that hurt themselves by crashing their cars and there is that part where the hole in the body is bleeding and to stop the blood from flowing, an erect penis has to be inserted. Holy cow. I ...more
I read Ballard's autobiographical account of his interment as a child and teenager in a Japanese camp outside of Shanghai while I was still at school and before I had read any of his fiction.

As I later read a few of his novels I had a slow and growing sense of how his adult fiction drew upon that early experience described in this memoir in both the world-turned-upside-down story which resurfaces in several of Ballard's later novels and the oddly half affectionate tone of the child narrator for
Brendon Schrodinger
'Empire of the Sun' is by far the best war book I have read. Not that I am a big reader of war books at all. I tend to avoid the fiction books as I have found over the years that no matter the imagination of the author, war was entirely more gruesome, graphic and even funnier than anything that could eventuate from one human mind. I find most war fiction embarrassing and trite.

However, while 'Empire of the Sun' could be classed as a memoir, the author freely admits that his experiences are not e
I remember one Saturday afternoon during the winter of 1987/1988 when my friend Chuck and I decided that instead of hitting the mall we would take in a movie. Our choices weren’t great… Rent-a-Cop, Return of the Living Dead Part II , Braddock, Missing in Action Part III. Yeah, so, we opted for Empire of the Sun. I had no real inkling to see it. I really didn’t care.

I remember that the movie had these big gaps of silence. Shots of Christian Bale running around an internment camp, flying a toy b
The interesting thing about The Empire of the Sun is the time period Ballard writes about. I don't mean the period of the protagonist's incarceration. In fact, the book pretty much skips most of the four years that Jim spends in the POW camp. We are with Jim at the start of the war when he is 10 years old and he fights his way to get into the POW camp, and we are with him again at the end of the war when he is 14 years old and he fights his way from the chaos of a countryside filled with ragged ...more
Don't let the Spielberg connection turn you off. This is a devastating slow burn of a book, one that I picked up fairly randomly, and have been reeling from ever since. The prose is scrupulously plain, but the psychological detail as strange and transporting as anything more self-consciously lyrical. It chronicles the author's childhood experiences as a prisoner-of-war in WWII Japan, but this isn't a typical novel-memoir; there's a traumatized shimmer to the third-person narration (there's no "I ...more
MJ Nicholls
With a childhood like this, it's easy to see why Ballard became the ultimate novelist of alienation, perversity and despair. The matter-of-factness regarding death, starvation and nuclear bombs is often discombobulating – especially when Jim leaves long-term friends behind to die with no flicker of emotion – but provides a unique psychological insight into WWII that few wartime novels have ever achieved.

An uncompromising classic.
Jul 27, 2009 Mariel rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: kids with nice manners
Recommended to Mariel by: John Malkovich
Everything I need to know in life I learned from Empire of the Sun.
I must have drifted out at crucial points because I found the geography very confusing. How far was the airfield from the camp? And the Olympic stadium? The Bund? That ceramic factory? The French Concession? How did the Japanese drivers get lost, when Jim can almost always see all these places? The map at the front of the book is crap and doesn't include many of the locations.

I thought that the action was confusing at times. I’d have an image of what was happening and suddenly someone would pop
Oct 03, 2007 Herrikias rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: people who are insulated in the West.
The book resonated beyond being the key to unlocking the symbolism found in the rest of Ballard's works. In its own brutal way, it is the dawning of a sheltered european to the reality of the world. Thinking turned for idle fancy to centering on trade. How everyone needs something just like you, and how to obtain it with objects, skills, or favors. How everyone takes everyone else for granted. Not just the Americans using Jim, but in turn how Jim has no qualms exploiting those who take pity on h ...more
Jeff Jackson
A biographical novel that deals with Ballard's time in Japanese internment camps during WWII, told with an unusual slant: The narrator almost seems to thrive and looks up to his captors as the only ones who can protect him. On its own, a brutal and fascinating story -- but for fans, it's also the Ballardian Rosetta Stone, the ground zero source of his recurring fascination with drained swimming pools, empty runways, dead pilots, open air cinemas, etc. "Yet only part of his mind would leave Shagh ...more
Meirav Rath
Dec 24, 2007 Meirav Rath rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Lovers of good fiction, historical fiction lovers
Oh, Steven Spielberg, how dare you kill this wonderful book's plot with a blunt instrument, burn it, trample it and then leave it to be raped by a horde of Cossacks, how?! Here's one book which was not for you to bring to the silver screen.
Unlike the film, this book managed to properly portray Jim's character, his experiences and to capture, complete and perfect, the lives of English citizens trapped behind Japanese lines in China. It's wonderfully written, the horrors laced gently with the exp
Megan Baxter
Hmm, three or four stars? This was good, but I don't think I'll read it again. On the other hand, that particular feeling does not say that this was a mediocre book. But that personal gut reaction is what I tend to use for star ratings - four stars means I would like to or wouldn't mind reading it again. Five stars are books I feel the need to own.

So this is a three star review, but it is probably a better book than that.

Note: The rest of this review has been withdrawn due to the recent changes
This was a very interesting book. Probably like most people, when I think of WWII, I think of a few historical "touchpoints": Nazi Germany, Pearl Harbor, Iwo Jima, Hiroshima. The biggies.

This book isn't about any of them. Well, not directly. This book is personal and intimate and shows the gritty underbelly of a war that people like to romanticize. Heck, even the main character romanticized the war, and he was living it!

Quickie synopsis: Jim is happy and sheltered living in Shanghai with his p
I honestly don’t know what’s the matter with me. Despite being a big Ballard fan, I'd never actually read this until now. The fuzzy reason I gave myself was that this was the mainstream book that Spielberg adapted, and so didn't chime in with the Ballard I generally deal with. However I’m glad I put my absurd prejudices aside, as this is brilliant!

Even though Ballard is dealing with the past rather than future, he does evoke this other world – which to Western eyes at least – is completely alien
J. G. Ballard's novels often perplexes me. He has a stunningly powerful style of writing yet it often feels emotionally detached. Empire of The Sun is not only his best novel but goes a long way to explain the author's somewhat schizoid style of writing. The autobiographical novel is based on his internment as a child in a Japanese prisoner of war camp in China during World War II. Even though it is called a novel, I would not be surprised to find that very little is actually fictional. For Ball ...more
Just arrived from Australia through BM.

A true masterpiece written by J.G. Ballard describing how the inhabitants of Shanghai, especially a young boy who was separated from his parents, have survived during World War II.

Steven Spielberg was perfectly able to translate this magnificent book Empire of the Sun (1987) to the cinema.

Stars: Christian Bale, John Malkovich, Miranda Richardson among others.

"I ought to go now, Mr. Maxted. It's time for the war to be over..."

No matter where or when humanity is conducting a war, we build camps. Concentration camps, refugee camps, camps for prisoner or whoever we consider being the enemy at that time.
Ballard was born in Shanghai from British parents, and were confined into the Civilian Assembly Centre (CAC) of Lunghua during WW2. In this book he turns his experience into the story of Jim, a kid that is held captive by Japanese soldiers in China. He i
I debated with myself whether this was a memoir or historical fiction -- Ballard's foreword clear states that the book is based on his memories of his experiences from 1941-1945 in Shanghai & Lunghao internment camp but on the opposing page is the now traditional caveat "This is a work of fiction... any resemblance to actual places or people is unintentional..."

I found that I had a hard time relating to Jim. I liked the way that at times, his beliefs are touchingly childish and at others, t
War transforms everything it touches and no person who has lived through it can be unchanged from having survived. So it was surprising to read the detailed account of an upper-class English boy who undergoes very little discernible character development despite outlasting nearly four horrendous years as a World War II prisoner.

Young Jamie Ballard is the only child of wealthy British expatriates living in 1941 Shanghai whose exclusive country club world is the French Concession neighborhood – co
would classify Empire of the Sun as an adventure novel about a boy’s life during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in WWII.

The book is graphic and spares no details about how people die, but it wasn’t graphic to the point where I had to put it down. Halfway through reading this, I realized that it was not fiction and was actually an autobiography, which made it a bit more difficult to read the particularly gruesome parts.

Empire of the Sun not only has an accurate portrayal of how a teenage boy
This is an incredibly special book.

J.G. Ballard used his experience as a child in a prisoner of war camp during the second Sino-Japanese War as the basis of the story of Jim, who in 1941 was an eleven year-old schoolboy of British extraction. Jim only knew Shanghai as home, with his mother and father, the chauffeur and the maids that made up the core of his universe. When Japanese warships fired on Chinese vessels in the Yangtze River, Jim had a front row seat from his hotel window on the Bund.
Either a great intro or the ultimate conclusion of your Ballard reading. Here all his obsessions are presented but given to a more accessible protagonist and tied to a real time and place, the fall of Shanghai. It’s possibly one of the best books on this aspect of World War Two. This is an almost a mainstream effort by Ballard but only in reference to its coherency and accessibility. It is still a parade of surreal visions with burning pilots, drained pools, and flickering, haunting images of fi ...more
An enjoyable read, this semi-autobiographical story is told from the perspective of a boy (aged 11-14 in the book) witnessing WWII Shanghai, including internment by the Japanese from 1942-45. Haunting descriptive prose. I did feel myself get war fatigue by the end of the book, but in many ways that is the point. I learned while reading this book that Ballard is widely acclaimed as a Science Fiction writer and I could sense his aptitude for that genre even in this historical piece.

Now I need to g
I read this book because the movie version is one of my all-time favorites. I was intrigued by the fact that this is semi-autobiographical and to see how true the movie was to the book. I was relieved to see that the general structure of the story is carried into the movie and that some movie dialogue comes directly from the book. But there are major differences between the two. While I wasn't a total fan of Ballard's writing style, I am so glad I read this classic and really enjoyed the process ...more
This was a moving, breathtaking book. It did not leave my thoughts well after reading it. The horrors of war were vividly spelled out. One must marvel at the will to continue existing while living through the destruction, loss and total destitition.
Empire of the Sun is the story of what the author experienced during World War II when he was a boy living in Shanghai. The film is one of my favourites so I thought I should read the book and it was very interesting. There are a number of differences between the two and a lot more detail is given in the book, as to be expected. The one thing the story highlighted to me is how amazing people are and what they can survive and how easy it can be to adjust to extreme circumstances. The book is much ...more
Huw Collingbourne
I've enjoyed many of Ballard's novels and short stories so I admit to being sorely disappointed by this semi-fictional account of his childhood experiences as a POW of the Japanese in and around Shanghai. The book is, frankly, rather turgid. It has very little in the way of plot or narrative drive, the characters are paper thin and the entire tone is clinically detached. If you want to read a fictionalised account of life as a POW of the Japanese, read Clavell's "King Rat" (a much better novel, ...more
Mia Claire
I watched the movie of this book first before reading it so even before I open the book and skim its pages, I already have the grasp of the general idea and the plot line of the book. The movie was good. In fact, it made me cry so hard so when I learned that it's based on a novel by J.G. Ballard, I decided to read the book. I thought the book would be "just like the movie" but when I started reading… from the first chapter, "The Eve of Pearl Harbor", it hit me that it's different from the movie. ...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 99 100 next »
  • The Information
  • If Not Now, When?
  • Master Georgie
  • My Idea of Fun
  • Day
  • The Shifting Realities of Philip K. Dick
  • Nineteen Seventy Seven (Red Riding, #2)
  • Confederates
  • The Alcoholics
  • Country Of The Blind (Jack Parlabane, #2)
  • Under the Frog
  • Fair Stood the Wind for France
  • The Military Philosophers (A Dance to the Music of Time, #9)
  • The Bridge Over the River Kwai
  • The Singapore Grip
  • Crime
James Graham "J. G." Ballard (15 November 1930 – 19 April 2009) was an English novelist, short story writer, and essayist. Ballard came to be associated with the New Wave of science fiction early in his career with apocalyptic (or post-apocalyptic) novels such as The Drowned World (1962), The Burning World (1964), and The Crystal World (1966). In the late 1960s and early 1970s Ballard focused on a ...more
More about J.G. Ballard...

Other Books in the Series

Empire of the Sun (2 books)
  • The Kindness of Women
Crash High-Rise The Drowned World Concrete Island The Atrocity Exhibition

Share This Book

“After a few minutes Jim was forced to admit that he could recognize none of the constellations. Like everything else since the war, the sky was in a state of change. For all their movements, the Japanese aircraft were its only fixed points, a second zodiac above the broken land.” 4 likes
“To his surprise he felt a moment of regret, of sadness that his quest for his mother and father would soon be over. As long as he searched for them he was prepared to be hungry and ill, but now that the search had ended he felt saddened by the memory of all he had been through, and of how much he had changed. He was closer now to the ruined battlefields and this fly-infested truck, to the nine sweet potatoes in the sack below the driver's seat, even in a sense to the detention center, than he would ever be again to his house in Amherst Avenue.” 3 likes
More quotes…