Jean's Reviews > The Gift of Rain

The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng
Rate this book
Clear rating

's review

it was amazing
bookshelves: historical-fiction, general-fiction

What a lovely, lyical novel this is. It's the story of Philip Huttan, half-Chinese and half-British, and his life on the lsland of Penang, off the coast of Malaya. The novel starts a little slowly, as Philip talks to a visitor, Michiko, about their shared love for Hayato Edo, a Japanese. Then it switches back and forth from the present time as Philip tells his story to Michiko. Philip begins the story at age 16, just before World War II, when he meets Edo-san and becomes his pupil in aikijutsu.

The young man is torn between his feeling of being lost, neither Chinese or British, and of his British father and half-siblings, and his feelings for Edo-san. Of course, the plot thickens, so to speak, as war is declared, and it becomes apparent that Edo-san is a Japanese spy.

I probably will never get to Penang, but I could see, hear, taste, and smell it through the author's descriptions. You can tell he loves it.

There is much Eastern philosophy here, about past lives, the illusion of choice, and the power of love and memory. If you love poetic language, you'll enjoy the writing - wish I could write like this. I don't buy many novels, but might buy this one to study it more.

Here's how to know if a book is great, as opposed to just good: When you are finished, start again from the beginning, and if you are caught in its spell all over again, and want to keep reading, even though you know what happens, that's a great book. It's what happened to me.
1 like · flag

Sign into Goodreads to see if any of your friends have read The Gift of Rain.
Sign In »

Reading Progress

Started Reading
September 1, 2014 – Finished Reading
September 16, 2014 – Shelved

No comments have been added yet.