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Reviews of Empire of the Sun (1984)

Review by michael a draper (2012-08-12)
"Empire of the Sun," is a semi-autobiographical novel of when J.G. Ballard was at the Lunghua Internment Camp, as a boy, during WWII.

Jim is age eleven as the story opens and sees the world mainly through the window of his parent's limousine.

He and his parents are on their way to an early Christmas event when the Chinese driver runs over a beggar's foot. An irony of going to a Christ-like event and not stopping to help the beggar.

That night, the Japanese open fire on a British and American boat in the harbor and war comes to Shanghai.

Jim becomes separated from his parents and eventually is placed in the Lunghua Interment Camp, his youth and joy of life, not only save him but help save a number of other internees.

The story is written in analytically style as Jim sees dead bodies and cruelty in the prision.

As the war is coming to an end, he sees the second son as he sees the exploding light from the bomb at Nagasaki.

Jim also has a fascination for the air fight taking place over Shanghai and dreams of becoming a pilot.

I enjoyed seeing a part of life of civilians during WWII.

(This review refers to the 1984 version titled “Empire of the Sun”)

©Steven Jeffery /, 2017
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