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The Gift of Rain

In 1939, 16-year-old Philip - the half-Chinese youngest child of Noel Hutton, head of one of Penang's great trading families - feels alienated from both the British and Chinese communities. He discovers a sense of belonging in his unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat who rents an island from his father. Philip proudly shows his new friend around his adored island of Penang, and Endo teaches him about Japanese language and culture, and trains him in the art and discipline of aikido. But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. The enigmatic Endo is bound by obligations of his own; and too late, as the Japanese invade Malaya, Philip realises that his sensei - to whom he owes absolute loyalty - is a Japanese spy. Forced into collaborating with the Japanese to safeguard his family and their interests, Philip turns into the ultimate outsider, trusted by none and hated by many. Tormented by his part in events, by deaths he is powerless to prevent, he risks everything to redress his moral balance by working in secret to save as many people as he can from the savagery of the invaders, and in so doing finds out who and what he really is. Driven by the prophetic words of an ancient soothsayer, ?The Gift of Rain? explores the opposing ideas of predestination and self-determination, as Philip traces a perilous and sometimes unclear path through the terrible years of the war. It takes the reader from the final days of the Chinese emperors to the dying era of the British Empire, and through the magical temples, exhilarating cities and forbidding rain forests of Malaya. 'The Gift of Rain' is epic, haunting and unforgettable, richly shot through with themes and ideas, a novel about agonisingly divided loyalties and unbearable loss. But it is also about human courage and - ultimately - about the nature of enduring love.
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'An engrossing read, a hugely enjoyable emotional voyage... a very fine exploration of the making of South East Asia from its Second World War traumas to the present. Warmly recommended.' John McRae, author of The Routledge Guide to Modern Writing 'A wonderful book, full of life... should be required reading for many Britons who still, sixty years and more after the fact, fail to understand either the Japanese or the British experience of World War II in Malaya.' Michael Ashkenazi, author of Matsuri: Festivals of a Japanese Town and of Food Culture in Japan 'A book that all Malaysians will be proud of.' Eric Forbes Good Book Guide

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