Diane's Reviews > The Black Isle

The Black Isle by Sandi Tan
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's review
Jul 04, 2012

liked it
bookshelves: 2012-books, historical-fiction

Li and Cassandra are twins from Shanghai. When Cassandra is about 8, she starts being able to see ghosts everywhere. Her father takes the children and moves to the Black Isle. The first few years, they eke out an existence while Cassandra goes to school. Later he takes them out of the seaport city to run a rubber plantation but he is continually distracted and unable to focus, the children are the ones that end up running the plantation. As adults, Cassandra and Li go different ways and have very different lives.

Cassandra learns to deal with the visions while coping with the Japanese occupation of the island during WWII. AT times the story is brutal and grim, especially when Cassandra is held prisoner by a Japanese officer and kept as his "wife", being abused and isolated. She is a survivor, however and does what she has to to live. After the war she gets involved with a rising politician who exploits her ability to see ghosts.

The book is very well written but, as i said, it can be dark and stark at times. The story is told by Cassandra to a stranger, a woman who seems to be researching the history of the Black Isle but she, too, has a connection to Cassandra. I did like the book but it wouldn't be for everyone.

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Reading Progress

July 4, 2012 – Shelved
July 7, 2012 – Started Reading
July 11, 2012 –
page 290
July 12, 2012 – Finished Reading

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