Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Gift of Rain - the book...

I have just finished reading this book 'The Gift of Rain' by Tan Twan Eng. Once a while a great book about Malaya came along and this one is superb in that it relived my memories of that dark period of the country history, the Japanese Occupation of Malaya from 1941 to 1945. The story revolved around a family in Penang at that period of time. Reading through this novel brings back memories of my past during that period. Although I was just a child at that time I seem to remember many events that happen during that period of my life. As I read the story unfolded by the creative writing of the author I began to remember of the similarity of the incidents that I saw around me or hears from the elders at that time. 1941 to 1945 was considered as the darkest period of our history when atrocities of war was at its worst. This book although set in Penang depict the same happening in the other parts of the country. In Kuantan, my hometown the happening was just like as described by the author. I believe the author has done a thorough research before embarking of this novel of historical importance to the country. While the novel is a works of fiction, the episodes depict in the novel to me are facts and remain to be a true happening all over the country during the occupation.

I was then just five years old and yet I could remember the war crystal clear. It must be the trauma that made me to remember, the dog fight between the Japanese and the British planes, the charred remain of the of tanks scattered on the plain near Jalan Gambut, the rack of a Japanese plane with a skeleton of the pilot still in the cockpit near the present Kuantan Airport, the many Japanese flags, the White with the Red circle in the middle flattering all over the town, the many arches of Japanese architecture stand everywhere. And of course the phrase 'potong kepala' decapitated, is a part that no one who live during the period could ever forget.

This book not only tell about the horror of war but more importantly it tell about the humanity of us all, our values, our traditions, our love for one another, our responsibility and duty to our country, the true meaning of patriotism, the need to understand ourselves and of how to deal with the time of crisis and of our belief and the spirituality of us all.

In a way this book not only relived history but taught us many important aspects of living and humanity.

To me this is a good book and should be read by all Malaysian especially so the present generation who now live in a peaceful and prosperous country; of how difficult the country was, when there was suffering and the many lost of lives during that dark period of our history.

I laud the author for a job well done. Indeed such a fine work of literature. Thank you.

Have a nice day.


elviza said...

Tan Twan Eng was a lawyer turned author, Pak. The way he strings the words is extraordinary.

You should also try this book, Evening Is the Whole Day. Brilliant plot. She even has a ghost characters in the book, which to me, rather fascinating.

Good day, Pak.

Pak Idrus said...

elviza, thanks for the visit and sharing your thoughts on the subject of this posting.

I did enjoy the book and it would made a good literature book for our secondary school. The way he narrate all those even made it came alive. I live through that period and like I said in this posting all those events are facts.

As for the other book you suggested, I shall look for it. Have a nice day.

Covert_Operations'78 said...

Salam, Pak Idrus. Thank you for the highly favourable book review. It sounds like something my parents and I would enjoy very much. My family has so many unpleasant memories of the Japanese occupation that reading about it and reliving it vicariously through the author would be in a way, cathartic. MPH, here we come!

Pak Idrus said...

Covert_Operations'78, Ee Lynn thanks for the visit and the good words on my review of this book. Although I read many books and never without a book to read I seldom did a review but since this book is one of a kind I thought that others must read this book.

It is more of our history book rather then just a novel. That is why I recommend strongly that Malaysian read this wonderful book. I believe you would, like me enjoy the book after you have read it.

Have a nice day.