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After Darkness

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3.76  ·  Rating details ·  661 ratings  ·  78 reviews
It is early 1942 and Australia is in the midst of war.

While working at a Japanese hospital in the pearling port of Broome, Dr Ibaraki is arrested as an enemy alien and sent to Loveday internment camp in a remote corner of South Australia. There, he learns to live among a group of men divided by culture and allegiance.

As tensions at the isolated camp escalate, the doctor’s
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Paperback, 304 pages
Published April 23rd 2014 by Allen & Unwin
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Average rating 3.76  · 
Rating details
 ·  661 ratings  ·  78 reviews


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Sharon
May 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
Whilst working at the Japanese hospital in the pearling port of Broome, Dr Ibaraki is arrested as an enemy alien along with hundreds of others. Being sent to Lovelyday interment camp in South Australia, where he would spend his time with many Japanese men.

As time passes at the camp there seems to an increased amount of tension within the men. Dr Ibaraki has strong beliefs that he's always desired to uphold, but it seems they may be in question.

Aussie author Christine Piper has written a
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Dale Harcombe
May 11, 2014 rated it really liked it
There is a lot to like about this book. The prose is very visual. Descriptions of places and people really come alive. This is just one ‘I glimpsed the contour of a wide river, its surface glittering white. Dead trees haunted its edges, their limbs stretching skywards, as if begging for forgiveness…’ That ends up being not only a description of the landscape but almost a metaphor for the book. Sometimes the descriptions are too visual and this weak stomached person ended up skipping details ...more
Brenda
Doctor Tomokazu Ibaraki arrived in Broome, Australia in 1938 after his position in a Japanese research unit had been terminated, and he and his wife Kayoko had separated. Unable to find a position in Japan, he made the decision to work in the hospital in Broome, signing a two year contract. Tomo was slow to make friends though Sister Bernice, the nun who assisted in the hospital alongside him, came to know him a little. But over time, the doctor came to consider Broome home – he enjoyed his work ...more
MaryG2E
This well-written story sheds light on an important though seldom-mentioned aspect of World War 2 - the internment by the Australian Government of ‘enemy aliens’ in the interests of national security. Christine Piper’s book focuses on the internment of Japanese residents, many of whom were long-term ex-pats, with little or no connection to their origins in Japan.

The protagonist, Dr Ibaraki Tomokazu, has been working at the Japanese hospital in Broome, location of Australia's prosperous pearling
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Sally906
Nov 25, 2014 rated it it was amazing


Opening line: "... The sun spread on the horizon, bleeding colour like a broken yolk..."


My Thoughts: The narrator of AFTER DARKNESS is a Japanese doctor - Tomokazu Ibaraki. He arrived in Australia in 1938 seeking redemption of his honour after leaving his wife and mother back in Japan. He had somehow shamed his employers and was fired from his work in a Japanese research unit under a mysterious and shameful dark cloud. At this point I will point out that what he did, although awful, was not only
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Carolyn
May 01, 2014 rated it really liked it
This novel tells the story of Tomokazu Ibaraku, a fictional Japanese doctor working in Broome at the outbreak of WWII who is subsequently sent to a POW internment camp in Victoria. Dr Ibaraku had fled Japan and his failing marriage when he realized he could not continue with the biological work he was doing for the military. In Broome he not only finds useful work at the Japanese hospital and starts to rediscover some self esteem. Once at the internment camp he must live in close quarters with ...more
RitaSkeeter
May 09, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015, historical
I read Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet last year, which tackles similar subject matter to this book; that being the internment of those who were (or descended from) Japanese during WW11. The aforementioned book was set in the USA, whilst this one is set in Australia. I found Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet was a more a romance than historical fiction, and whilst sweet I found it flimsy.

Piper, however, has written a book that is literary historical fiction; beautifully written and
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Julie
Sep 23, 2014 rated it it was ok
After Darkness ... was light
As in light-weight


Don't mean to sound condescending but it was a good read - suitable for serialisation in a light-weight weekly mag. It was nice, light, easy-reading historical fiction. It was strong on context but weak on content, as in, the author managed to give a sense of place and historical detail but the characterisation and plotline were dull.

The narrative skirted around the darker aspects of the subject material with violence kept at arms length. In fact
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Kathryn
I’ve read quite a few books about WWII, but I haven’t read many about the internment of Japanese civilians. And I don’t think I’ve read anything about Japanese internment in Australia.

In fact, I may be naïve, but I hadn’t even realised that there were Japanese interned here. I can understand why it’s done, but it would be very difficult to be living one of these camps for the duration of the war - especially if you were born and bred in Australia, as some of these men were.

This book followed the
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Lisa
Apr 24, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stephen Romei, in the blurb on the back of this award-winning novel, says that it deserves a place alongside Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Mark Dapin’s Spirit House – and I think he’s right. After Darkness is indeed a remarkable novel, so accomplished in its writing and so compelling a story in the issues that it raises that I am not at all surprised that it won the 2014 Vogel Prize.

Set in a remote Australian internment camp during World War 2, After Darkness tells the
...more
Joanie
Jun 07, 2014 rated it really liked it
After Darkness is an extremely well written, haunting novel that stays with you. This is a book that I will not forget, as the subject matter (an internment camp in Australia for enemy aliens during the second world war) is quite honestly something to which I have never given much consideration.

Although the inmates for the most part were treated reasonably well the diverse population with their different cultures and allegiances created an environment that led to escalating violence.

Narrated by
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Bree T
Jan 17, 2015 rated it really liked it
It is 1942 and Australia is in the midst of yet another war. The government is taking no chances and has rounded up anyone who is of the descent of the enemy: Japanese, German, Italian, etc and put them into internment camps.

Dr Ibaraki works in a Japanese hospital in Broome and although he escaped the early rounding up due to his profession, he has finally been arrested and sent to Loveday internment camp in a remote desert corner of South Australia. It is dusty, dry and hot in summer and cold
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Louise
Sep 27, 2017 rated it really liked it
After Darkness by Christine Piper is largely set in Australia in 1942, in an internment camp for Japanese, Germans and Italians during WWII after the bombing of Broome. It's told in first person, narrated by Japanese doctor, Tomakazu Ibaraki. Interspersed throughout are chapters from earlier periods of Ibaraki's life in Japan, and why he escaped a potentially illustrious career in his homeland to start a new life in Broome. It's told in an understated, formal manner in keeping with the character ...more
Brit McCarthy
Thank you to the publisher for sending me this book in exchange for an honest review. This did not influence my review in any way.

Usually, when it comes to history, particularly war history, we are only really interested in what happened to us, our country, who we consider our people. We always look at things from the way they impacted us. After Darkness shows another side to the story, to the history, of World War II.

Tomakazu Ibaraki is a Japanese doctor who moved to Australia before the war,
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Angela
Apr 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
See my blog for more reviews: www.monkeysbooks.wordpress.com

Dr Ibaraki is a Japanese doctor who finds himself in an internment camp in South Australia during WWII in the 1940s. As a Japanese citizen on Australian soil in WWII, he is considered an enemy of the state and is unceremoniously thrown into the camp. How he got there and why he is so far from his homeland is gradually revealed, by Piper, like the peeling back of layers of an onion. We learn about his former life as a promising
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Book Bazaar
Feb 12, 2015 rated it really liked it
“After Darkness” by Christine Piper is a debut historical novel that takes us back to 1942, war time in Australia and a time when people of Japanese, German and Italian heritage where being imprisoned as enemy aliens. The novel follows a Japanese doctor, Tomakazu Ibaraki who was working in a Japanese hospital in Broome when war broke out. Ibaraki is sent to an internment camp in South Australia and it is here we see the diversity of stories behind the Japanese who were held there.

The novel adds
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MichelleG
“After Darkness” by Christine Piper is a historical novel set in 1942. WWII war time internment camps are in effect in Australia for enemy aliens for people of Japanese, German and Italian heritage. The book follows a Japanese doctor, Tomakazu Ibaraki who was working in a Japanese hospital in Broome when war broke out. Tomakazu is sent to an internment camp in South Australia, and it is here we learn more of his back story with flashbacks going back to his life and work in Japan during the ...more
Calzean
An interesting and seldom told story that focuses on the experiences of a Japanese doctor interned in Australia at the beginning of the war with Japan. The hero of the story is afraid to express his true feelings and his behaviour means his marriage collapses and he sails off to Broome to start a new life.

The story focuses on his life in the camp but flashes back to his life in Japan and in Broome. The complexity of being Japanese in Japan, in Australia and in the camp is sympathetically stated.
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Mattie
May 10, 2014 rated it it was amazing

This is an epic novel, a symphony, a violin concert if it were music.
I thought Christine is almost a Japanese composer with very controlled story lines. A Japanese music.
Love her short sentences yet they vividly describe scenes and people.
Each chapter is a movement with appropriate composition in whole , carrying reader's emotions right through to the end.
Love the ending. Dr. Ibaraki finally will be freed from his demons. Yes, it is After Darkness.
Simple but brilliantly written.
Am already
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Troy
Sep 20, 2018 rated it really liked it
A fine first novel, deserving of its place on the miles franklin shortlist in 2015, and now on the Victorian year 12 reading list

The interesting aspects were the historical context of the internment of Japanese nationals in Australia during WW2, and the activities of the Japanese medical division in Japan prior to the war. Unit 731 was real.

Our narrator, a Japanese doctor, takes a very personal journey through that context and the book travels back and forth through his journey to uncover the
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Siobhán Marriott
Jan 14, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: jan-2015
The cover of Christine Piper's first novel quotes Stephen Romei as saying, this book After Darkness "reminds us that there are two sides to every war and that history never ceases to be written." If history is then a social construct, this fluidity is mirrored in the cover photograph of lanterns released on the ocean during Bon festival. "They represent the spirits of the dead," our main character, Tomokazu Ibaraki explains. "At this time every year our ancestors return to visit us. To guide ...more
Johanne
Oct 06, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shortlisted 2015 Miles Franklin Prize

Srephen Romei, in the blurb on the back of this award-winning novel, says that it deserves a place alongside Richard Flanagan’s The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Mark Dapin’s Spirit House – and I think he’s right. After Darkness is indeed a remarkable novel, so accomplished in its writing and so compelling a story in the issues that it raises that I am not at all surprised that it won the 2014 Vogel Prize.

Set in a remote Australian internment camp during
...more
Margaret Tranter
Jan 03, 2015 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2015
I had been aware of POW camps for both Italian and Japanese people resident in Australia during WWII but had never read any detailed accounts. This book I reveals much about the physical and emotional upheaval these incarceration a had on both the prisoners and the towns and places from which they were gathered. Innocent people who were serving Australia's population well were removed without any opportunity to appeal to isolated and inhospitable places to live in makeshift accommodation which ...more
Carolyn Mck
Jun 16, 2014 rated it liked it
Shelves: aww14
I came to this novel after reading the complex prose of Michael Cunningham so initially found the simple style of After Darkness rather dull. However, I was drawn into the story by the interest of the setting (an Australian World War 2 internment camp for Japanese and part-Japanese) and impressed by how Piper controlled the voice of the narrator, Dr Ibaraki. In his life to date, Ibaraki has shown 'discretion' but this has limited his capacity to show empathy to his patients or create genuine ...more
Mandy
Jul 20, 2015 rated it it was amazing
Oh, what a really good book. Beautifully researched and written - another story about WWII but this time about a Japanese doctor who is interned in Australia after the bombing of Pearl Harbour. Dr. Tomakazu Ibaraki is an honourable man but it is his misguided honour that causes him to withdraw from everything he loves and he flees to Broome. An absorbing and haunting book, Ibaraki is easy to know, understand and empathsize with, despite the shocking events of his early career. Finally in Broome ...more
Susan Morrison
Jan 15, 2015 rated it really liked it
This was an amazing effort for a first time author and one i am sure we will continue to enjoy. The book looks at a young Japanese doctor caught up in the scientific research taking place with the Japanese military in the 1930"s. When it becomes ethically too much for him he takes a job in Broome Australia running a hospital mostly for japanese divers. He finds some content,ent in Broome as he recovered from a failed career and marriage breakup. War arrives and he us shipping off to a camp in ...more
Julie Bye
Jul 03, 2015 rated it it was amazing
This book follows a number of different time lines around WWII before continuing through to the late eighties. It follows the life of Japanese doctor Tomo Ibaraki. Ibaraki moves to Broome just before the war and is interned with other Japanese and Australian born Japanese. The novel is quite seamless in the way it jumps time zones, with the earlier times almost like Ibaraki's reminiscences. The characters are not typical caricatures and there are good and bad characters in both nationalities. ...more
Jen
Jul 15, 2014 rated it really liked it
Shelves: australian, war
Dr Ibaraki leaves both his research job and his wife in Japan to work in the local hospital at Broome where he is employed to care for the Japanese population of divers. He is trying to escape the memory of the work he was doing on biological weapons of war for the army.

When World War II begins, he is interred in a camp in South Australia, where he meets many other Japanese and mixed race internees.

This is a beautifully written novel, so easy to read. The characters are delicately sketched and
...more
Mark
May 02, 2014 rated it really liked it
I thoroughly enjoyed this beautifully constructed story about a Japanese doctor interned in Australia during the Second World War. The story focuses on three stages in his life - one before he leaves Japan, one after his migration to Broome and the other during his internment in the small South Australian town of Loveday. The book is very easy to read, yet intelligent and moving. There is a great balance of mystery, emotion and drama, leading to a terrific ending, that is both sad and ...more
Anne_MB
Jun 13, 2015 rated it really liked it
This novel about Japanese detained in Australia during World War 2 started slowly in a restrained almost aloof way. The depth of the characters is slowly revealed, as the differing points of view, the conflicts,the cruelty, and the human emotions are all gradually revealed.
The main character, a Japanese doctor working in Broome when the war broke out, is a very believable and likeable character and essentially a good man.
I enjoyed reading about this aspect of Australian history. That Australian
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Christine Piper’s short fiction has been published in Seizure, SWAMP and Things That Are Found In Trees and Other Stories.

She was the 2013 Alice Hayes writing fellow at Ragdale in the United States. She has studied creative writing at Macquarie University, the Iowa Writers’ Workshop and the University of Technology, Sydney, where she wrote a version of this novel as part of her doctoral degree.
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“I glimpsed the contour of a wide river, its surface glittering white. Dead trees haunted its edges, their limbs stretching skywards, as if begging for forgiveness” 0 likes
“The sun spread on the horizon, bleeding colour like a broken yolk.” 0 likes
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