Set in Penang in the years just before and during the Second World War, this début novel explores the consequences of love and duty. Philip Hutton, born to a British father and a Chinese mother, finds himself drawn to a mysterious Japanese diplomat and aikido master, and soon becomes his devoted student. But their friendship—described in romantic, even erotic terms—is called into question when the Japanese invade the island and Philip must decide whether to join the resistance or collaborate with the occupying army.
(Summary from New Yorker review, via Amazon)
4 Very culturally informative–well written–heavy dose of reality.
4 Beautifully written.