Welcome to my stop on the How We Disappeared blog tour sponsored by TLC Book Tours! Thanks to TLC for the invitation!
About the Book:
*A Library Journal “Emerging Stars” Pick*
A mesmerizing novel of World War II Singapore, “a story about memory, trauma, and ultimately love” (New York Times)—for fans of Pachinko and We Were the Lucky Ones
Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.
In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is strapped into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman.” After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced still haunts her.
In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he never could have foreseen.
Weaving together two time lines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. Drawing in part on her family’s experiences, Jing-Jing Lee has crafted a profoundly moving, unforgettable novel about human resilience, the bonds of family and the courage it takes to confront the past.
How We Disappeared has two timelines. The first is set during World War II, and the location is Singapore. Japanese troops have been marching through Malaysia. One village is almost completely wiped out; only three survive the attack.
In a nearby village, Wang Di is captured and sent to a Japanese military brothel where she is a “comfort woman.”
The second timeline is in the year 2000. Young Kevin’s grandmother is sick, and she confesses something to him. It causes him to seek the truth, whatever that might be.
The two timelines have two secrets…
Jing-Jing Lee was inspired by her family’s experiences to write this story. How We Disappeared is a tribute to strong women displaying resilience of spirit even in the most dire of times. It’s about family and seeking the truth. While this was occasionally difficult to read due to the subject matter, the inspiration I drew from these characters and their courage kept it from being overwhelmingly dark.
The writing is beautiful, and the story so poignant, I was completely invested and compelled to keep reading. I also absorbed the Singaporean culture from the time, as it was fascinating. Overall, this is another perspective on the atrocities of World War II, and a story that was important to share so that we never, ever forget.
I received a complimentary copy. All opinions are my own.
About the Author:
Born and raised in Singapore, Jing-Jing graduated from Oxford’s Creative Writing Master’s in 2011 and has since seen her poetry and short stories published in various journals and anthologies. Jing-Jing’s novella, If I Could Tell You, was published by Marshall Cavendish in 2013 and her debut poetry collection, And Other Rivers, was published by Math Paper Press in 2015. Her novel, How We Disappeared, will be out with Oneworld in early 2019.
Have you read How We Disappeared, or is it on your TBR? Happy Reading! ~ Jennifer THR