Tuesday, 19 October 2010

Canadian Fiction

Finished October 17
The Promise of Rain by Donna Milner
This is a book that has two related storylines. One is in 1962 and told in the voice of Ethie, who is eleven. Ethie has an older brother Frankie and another older brother, closer to her in age, Kipper. Kipper has Down's Syndrome. When Ethie's mother dies suddenly that summer, her father slips further away from the family before another crisis forces him to find his way back to his family. The distance that Ethie's father Howard has sometimes had with his family is a result of his experiences in World War II. This leads us to the second storyline, which is Howard's experiences in World War II. Barely trained, Howard and his best friend Gordon left Winnipeg as new recruits and were sent off to Hong Kong. Poorly supplied, the two boys find life in Hong Kong slow at first and then find themselves in the middle of a deadly and vicious fight with the Japanese. They become POWs, but life is difficult and Howard undergoes experiences that change him forever. It is these experiences he has struggled with for years, not even talking to his wife about them. Now, with his wife's sudden death, his family's need, and people from the past reappearing in his life, he must face his past.
This is a very human story, and the emotions of the characters made it come alive for me. I could feel the situations they were in and how they reacted to them. A great read, that I could barely put down, I thoroughly enjoyed this book.

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