I was excited to read this book as it was written by a fellow Malaysian. The Gift of Rain is not a gay novel. He’d left Japan before the war and had never returned. ‘Penang, 1939. His Chinese mother had died when he was young. Most of the book is set in Penang, an island in the north, off the west coast of Malaysia, or Malaya as it was called before it gained its independence. Learn how and when to remove this template message, "Booker club: The Gift of Rain by Tan Twan Eng", "Man Booker 2007 Prize: The Gift of Rain", "The road not taken, or a predestined outcome? It was published in 2007 by Myrmidon Books in the United Kingdom and the following year by Weinstein Books in the United States, and was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize that year. I was expecting a book on patriotism, loyalty, betrayal, revenge. Looking for intelligent, funny, normal guys who want more than sex. Settings; Themes and Motifs; Styles. And that annoys me. Philip comes across as wooden with barely any emotional depth. He had been in love with Michiko who, along with their master, had asked Tanaka to go to Penang and watch over Endo. Written in lush, evocative prose, The Gift of Rain spans decades as it takes readers from the final days of the Chinese emperors to the dying era of the British Empire, and through the mystical temples, bustling cities, and forbidding rain forests of Malaya. Not only that, it is one of the best books I have read for a long while. It’s a Muslim country, its homophobic. Told in first person, from Philip’s point-of-view, the book is divided into two parts – the first part covers events leading up to the war, and the second starts with the news that Japan has invaded Malaya. Much as I love history and historical tales, it got to the point where I was rolling my eyes at yet another story-within-the-story; I just wanted to get on with the main story. Sixteen-year-old Philip Hutton is a loner. Being a Malaysian who’s grown up in Malaysia, I understand the author’s reluctance to show anything too overtly homosexual, especially as he still lives there. Philip Hutton … And my oldest sister used to live in Ipoh, so that was familiar too. A very good read, indeed. THE GIFT OF RAIN. As they get to know one another, it didn’t take me long to work out Endo’s underlying motives. Is some sort of Somerset Maugham thing happening here? She is brought to Penang when the Japanese invade China, and later marries a local fisherman, Ah Hock. As Philip tells his story, we find out about his life – that he’s the youngest of four and the only child from his father’s second marriage. Edward Hutton - Philip's half-brother who dies while working on the death railway in Burma. Far be it for me to say how anyone should write their story, but as a reader, I want it to be portrayed clearly, one way or the other. ... and cute ;). A good story doesn't need a gay, straight, bisexual, malay, chinese, eurasian, indian author. You have no idea how much I really, really wanted to like this book, even love this book. She is shot by Hayato Endo to save her from a worse fate. 1 Plot; 2 Characters; 3 References; 4 Reviews; 5 External links; Plot . Hayato Endo - Philip's aikido master, a Japanese diplomat with a dark secret, and whose father was condemned as a traitor after he criticised the emperor. he is cute... hahaha... will buy his book... Homosexual eroticism appears in "Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence" which has been put to screen by Nagisa Oshima in the mid 80es, starring Takeshi Kitano and David Bowie. I’ll probably read it… one day. It concerns Philip Hutton, of mixed Chinese-English heritage, and his relationship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat who teaches him aikido. Stay strong! He becomes Philip's friend and later joins Force 136. Based on the other Malaysian who got on the longlist (Tash Aw), whose book was also set around the time of the Japanese Occupation, it seems writing about that period is the way to go. He is killed while attempting to escape. Though this debut novel of divided loyalties in Southeast Asia during World War II has the epic sweep of a TV mini-series, portentous dialogue and belabored themes undermine its otherwise engrossing plot. The Gift of Rain is the first novel by Malaysian novelist Tan Twan Eng. The library has a copy of Mr Tan’s second novel, ‘The Garden of Evening Mists’, set in 1950s Malaya and dealing with the aftermath of the war. A private, secretive individual, Endo decides to teach Philip aikido if he’s willing to commit fully to the training. ... he is malaysian, and he is making a name for himself overseas ... an accomplishment ... ... ... and his sexuality is none of other people's business (fridae, please dont go the tabloid way) ... lets celebrate talent well appreciated instead ;) ... last but not least ... only 35! But it's also like a Merchant Ivory film with lots of martial arts. Hideki Tanaka - Kon's master who shared the same master as Endo. Ah Hock - Ming's husband who dies at the hands of the Japanese during the Sook Ching pogrom. ... " �: What advice would you have for aspiring gay writers in Asia? " Contents. Obviously, I wasn’t alive back in the late 1930s, but my parents had told me enough stories about life before the Japanese and what it was like living under their rule that I recognised a lot of it. It is set in Java under Japanese occupation. We ALL can get through this! Being Malaysian, I understood them, and, thanks to anime, I understood most of the Japanese words/phrases used but not all. Half English, half Chinese and feeling neither, he discovers a sense of belonging in an unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat who trains him in the art and discipline of aikido.But the enigmatic Endo is bound by disciplines of his own and when the Japanese invade Malaya, threatening to destroy Philip’s family and everything he loves, he realises that his trusted sensei has been harbouring a devastating secret. Tan Twan Eng knows how to gracefully string words together… until he doesn’t. A heightened self-awareness. For a sixteen-year-old, he shows no interest in his sexual awakening/identity. by Tan Twan Eng ‧ RELEASE DATE: May 1, 2008. When we first meet Philip Hutton, he’s already an old man, in his 70s, and still living in Penang. Each person we’re introduced to has a story to tell. Having grown up in KL, the places mentioned were very recognisable. But is the attraction romantic love or the love and respect between teacher and pupil? All rights reserved. And it is so slow… I don’t mind a slow plot build-up, but the pre-war part of the story, almost 300 pages, progresses at a crawl. Tan Twan Eng exposes the way in which the complexities of collaboration and resistance, and the duties to one's country, are made more difficult by a mixed-race heritage and the demands of friendship. He spends his later life living with a mix of scorn and admiration from the populace who view him as either a traitor or a saviour. I also read Tash Aw's - I did not finish it. Having them all mashed together in one story made me lose sight of what the story was actually about. Sadly, I couldn’t care less for any of the characters, which is not what I wanted, especially in a story set in wartime. Kon and Philip help him escape but he is too wounded to flee and so Kon helps him commit Seppuku. Ng Yi-Sheng , you were trying to trap Twan Eng? He us later used as bait to lure Kon into a failed ambush but is taken prisoner by the guerrillas as his relationship with Kon must stay hidden and so he is tortured by Yong Kwan. He doesn’t seem to be attracted to women or men. The other thing I liked was the eloquent writing. ", https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?title=The_Gift_of_Rain&oldid=982644376, Short description is different from Wikidata, Articles needing additional references from October 2008, All articles needing additional references, Wikipedia articles needing rewrite from June 2019, Wikipedia articles needing clarification from May 2012, Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License. Her catalyst for making the journey was the unexpected arrival of a letter he’d sent to her in 1945, over fifty years before.‘“It came out of the past like a ghost. The examples I quoted earlier are near the beginning of the book. Philip never sees him after the war with no-one knowing where he went after Philip's final meeting near the end of the war. Can you imagine its journey? Philip must risk everything to save those closest to him and to discover who and what he really is.’. Having said that, there are subtle hints at a possible attraction between Philip and Endo. What is the location of agency? This page was last edited on 9 October 2020, at 12:46. Philip's grandfather - Father of Yu Mei and Yu Lian, who once tutored the Emperor Wen Zu. Akashi Saotome - Endo's superior in KL and is later killed by Yong Kwan after being Philip tips off Force 136 to Saotome's plan to ambush the guerrillas. Chua - Ah Hock's father and village headman of Kampong Dugong. The novel is set in Penang. He works for the Japanese in an attempt to protect his family, but later begins to pass intelligence to the resistance, saving many lives. ... Have seen his book in Kino in Takashimaya. And the number of similes – good lord! Whew....great stuff! At the end of the novel he convinces Philip to spare him the war crime tribunals and help his commit seppuku to break the cycle that he and Philip have repeated throughout history. And to what extent do historical contingencies and other causalities set the limits of self-autonomy, particularly during the time of Japanese colonialism?
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