Book cover from Empire of the Sun by J. G. Ballard
Book cover 'Empire of the Sun'

Empire of the Sun

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Author(s): J. G. Ballard
Format: Book › Paperback all formats
Published: 03-07-2005
ISBN: 0743265238
Pages: 279
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
List Price: $16.00

BooksToRead Review

Empire of the Sun, truthfully filmed by Steven Spielberg, is a war novel by deceased British writer J. G. Ballard. Ballard is famous for his apocalyptic science fiction novels, but his literary reputation is largely won by his magically realistic fantastic stories. Empire of the Sun is an exception in his oeuvre and is a semi-autobiographical story of the four years spent by a British boy in a Japanese prison camp during World War II.

The young James Graham is stranded in Shanghai after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor and is imprisoned in a Japanese detention camp. As the war continues and James becomes more and more aware of the reality of the war, his feelings develop and his life becomes a battle of survival. The confusion that is so typical of the war is shown exceptionally well in this book. In Empire of the Sun Ballard accurately describes the terrible reality of the Chinese-Japanese war and the Japanese concentration camps in China.

Book description

The classic, award-winning novel, made famous by Steven Spielberg’s film, tells of a young boy’s struggle to survive World War II in China.

Jim is separated from his parents in a world at war. To survive, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him.

Shanghai, 1941—a city aflame from the fateful torch of Pearl Harbor. In streets full of chaos and corpses, a young British boy searches in vain for his parents. Imprisoned in a Japanese concentration camp, he is witness to the fierce white flash of Nagasaki, as the bomb bellows the end of the war...and the dawn of a blighted world.

Ballard’s enduring novel of war and deprivation, internment camps and death marches, and starvation and survival is an honest coming-of-age tale set in a world thrown utterly out of joint.

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