You'll love this one...!! A book club & more discussion

Empire of the Sun
This topic is about Empire of the Sun
45 views
Group Themed Reads: Discussions > August 2014 - Empire of the Sun discussion

Comments Showing 1-21 of 21 (21 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by AmyK (new)

AmyK (yakyma) | 1044 comments Discuss Empire of the Sun here!!


Stuart (asfus) | 86 comments A book I enjoyed a great deal as it did convey a young boy's point of view of life in a prison camp. The only thing is it has a milder tone and is less graphic than other works of his such as Crash.


Diane  | 90 comments Stuart wrote: "A book I enjoyed a great deal as it did convey a young boy's point of view of life in a prison camp. The only thing is it has a milder tone and is less graphic than other works of his such as Crash."

I have heard that said about the majority of his books. This one is more semi-autobiographical. I read it last year and enjoyed it.


Liz   (lizvegas) | 504 comments I'm really just getting started with this one, but I'm loving the author's writing style.
I found myself very ignorant to what was happening, during this time period, in China. I read a bit of extra "stuff" to grasp a better understanding of Shanghai during WWII.

I found this website helpful: http://histclo.com/essay/war/ww2/camp...


message 5: by Mariab (new) - added it

Mariab | 3059 comments Liz wrote: "I'm really just getting started with this one, but I'm loving the author's writing style.
I found myself very ignorant to what was happening, during this time period, in China. I read a bit o..."


Thanks for the site!


Neenee Stuart wrote: "The only thing is it has a milder tone and is less graphic than other works of his such as Crash."

I heard it too. But to me it is quite graphic. And as it is a semi-autobiography, I can't imagine how Mr. Ballard could cope with all the trauma.


Marie Claude (mariecg2001) | 991 comments I just finished the book, and Jim seems a really imaginative and resilient kid.

Some parts of the book were pretty depressing, and I can't imagine how they would have been if Ballard hadn't used such a detached tone to tell his story. I enjoyed the book and gave it 4*

I had seen the movie a few years ago and had some memories of him in the camp, but I will have to see it again to check how close to the book it actually was.


Liz   (lizvegas) | 504 comments I just finished this. I ended up rating it three stars, even though I did really enjoy it. The descriptive writing style, that I started out loving, ended up bogging me down a bit. I kept putting this book down and then wasn't all that excited to pick it up again. Viewing the war, through Jim's eyes was a unique perspective, and Witnessing his loss of his innocence was heartbreaking.


message 9: by Marie Claude (last edited Aug 15, 2014 04:23AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Marie Claude (mariecg2001) | 991 comments I watched the movie with my son and they have changed many details... some I understand (they made more senses cinematographically), but others (they put him in the camp where his parents were in the book...) I don't know why.

I enjoyed (if such a book may be "enjoyed") the book, in good part because I thought it was fascinating to see the war that way, from the eyes of a child who loses his innocence but at the same time keeps it... he still thinks like a child in many ways, which I felt often worried the doctor and his other "friends"... I felt that for him a lot of it seemed unreal, almost like a game... like some people seem to be playing at being adult...


Liz   (lizvegas) | 504 comments I struggled with using the word "enjoy", as well. I need to see of the movie is on Netflix. I'd like to watch it, now that I've read the book. I absolutely hate watching a movie first, if there is a book version.
#bookwoproblem


Marie Claude (mariecg2001) | 991 comments Liz wrote: "I struggled with using the word "enjoy", as well. I need to see of the movie is on Netflix. I'd like to watch it, now that I've read the book. "

It's not on Netflix in Canada but maybe you'll be more Lucky if in the US. And it was even hard to find in DVD :(


message 12: by Mariab (new) - added it

Mariab | 3059 comments Is the kid (11) not to old to play -and go everywhere- with toys?


Margy | 11 comments I don't think I had ever paid attention to WWII from the aspect of this part of the world. Fascinating that Jim, though English, idolized the Japanese, even though they were his captors. I assume that would be because that was who he saw and who he felt would win the war. It is never mentioned to whom England is allied and maybe as a child his info was very limited. Also thought the idea of the Chinese sitting outside the camps and Jim's attachment to Lunghua camp were interesting.

I did think that it got muddled toward the end and had trouble figuring out what was what, between the communists, the nationalists and the Kuomintang troops, but overall enjoyed the writing style, perspective and insight of this book.


message 14: by Mariab (new) - added it

Mariab | 3059 comments Margy wrote: "I don't think I had ever paid attention to WWII from the aspect of this part of the world. Fascinating that Jim, though English, idolized the Japanese, even though they were his captors. I assume..."

I think Jim's fixation with the japanese is because the previous war (Sino- Japanese war), which he saw the japanese winn (we see that, in his often escapes to the old landing field). After the take from Shanghai for the japanese, he was sure they would winn WWII too. We must remember the strong survival instinct that child have, and their inclination to the strongest


Michelle Burton (goneabroad71) | 53 comments I thought this captured what goes on in an year old boy's head (or what I imagine goes on -- i've never been one myself :-)) very well, and that that was the book's real charm. I really believed the voice.

On the other hand, just as someone else mentioned, every time I put this book down I had a bit of trouble getting excited about picking it back up. I think that's because it's so "old fashioned" -- that is, it's in a literary style much different from the books we read today. It's understated and the action moves slowly.

I saw the movie first (something I almost never do!) and I thought it captured the feel of the book, if not all of the details, really well.


message 16: by Mariab (last edited Sep 02, 2014 01:55PM) (new) - added it

Mariab | 3059 comments I didn´t found the book poor in depictions or "less graphic". I found quite beautiful places with descriptions of the "outside" in perfect consonance with the actual mood of the kid.
The part where he takes the boot and navigates briefly the river is particularly touching, then it tell us his readiness to let go and die.


message 17: by Mariab (new) - added it

Mariab | 3059 comments Also the "detachment" of the story is a hint of the form in which he has manage to survive. He makes a comment in this direction, when he says that now he understands how chinese people manage to go through life


message 18: by Neenee (last edited Sep 02, 2014 06:54PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Neenee I watched the film first, then the book. I was so mesmerised by the movie. It stayed with me for days.

Years later when I finally got to read the book, I thought, wow, this is so different. Yes, only some things were retained in the movie. I think it was deliberately done by Spielberg.

What I remember the most is that in the book, Ballard was more empathetic towards the Chinese. In the movie, if I remember correctly, it was for the Japanese.


message 19: by Mariab (new) - added it

Mariab | 3059 comments Has anyone read the sequel The Kindness of Women?


Neenee No. It's in my tbr. Have you?


message 21: by Mariab (new) - added it

Mariab | 3059 comments Neenee wrote: "No. It's in my tbr. Have you?"

No. Me neither. I was wanting to know if it were worth a try


back to top

1225

You'll love this one...!! A book club & more

unread topics | mark unread


Books mentioned in this topic

The Kindness of Women (other topics)