Customer Review

5.0 out of 5 stars The Gift of Rain., 17 July 2013
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This review is from: The Gift of Rain (Kindle Edition)
This is one of most enjoyable books I have read recently. It is interesting because of the information about pre-war Malaya and the mix of peoples who lived there, and how they related to each other at that time,but this is also a book of different levels and dimensions. The story of the half white, half Chinese adolescent boy, Philip Hutton, his relationship with his white half-siblings and his father have an echo of reality and so help set the scene for this novel. His further relationship with the enigmatic Endo-San who becomes his sensei in martial arts and also his tutor in his daily life is a fascinating study as as he slowly but steadily shapes Philip's manner of thought and action without Philip realising for a few years just how strong this influence has become. The spiritual side of their relationship becomes understood by Philip maturesand begins to think and understand more. As the people of Penang become more conscious and fearful of the threat of invasion from Japan, Philip begins to realise how much his father actually does love him, which he had always doubted, and begins to value both his father and his siblings. He also begins to questlon his relationship with Endo San and the motives of the man himself.

The second part of the novel deals with the withdrawal of British troops and the departure of many of the European community who feel they have been deserted and abandoned by Britain. This leads to divisions among those left behind, and indeed Philip is not at certain where he stands, as he begins to comprehend how strong the influence of Endo San has been and how Endo San has in many ways misused his trust. He then has to make a decision as to his future actions, particularly as many of the local people now distrust him due to his close association with a Japanese, His final decision angers the local people, both Chinese and Malayans, who see his actions as traitorous, but there is more to this than meets the eye. It is, however a difficult route he has chosen and he too suffers under the Japanese, even with the protection of Endo San.

The third part of the book has a more reflective theme and makes more of the spiritual thread that is woven through the story, when Endo San's very sick wife turns up on Philip's doorstep and Philip begins to understand more about himself and the people around him who have been affected by his beliefs and intentions.

This is a beautifully written and constructed book with its many diverse characters and themes. It is one that I would happily recommend to others.
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