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Preview: Under The Sun

Preview: Under The Sun

Reportage Press, 2007, 243 Pages, ISBN13: 9780955572937 (Hardback), £16.99p

Preview by J. Sean Curtin

This is an impressive first novel by Justin Kerr-Smiley which grippingly depicts the suffering and pain of conflict and the humanity that lies within us all. The two protagonists, the English pilot Edward Strickland and the Japanese officer Captain Tadashi Hayama, slowly bridge the immense cultural gulf which divides them and in the process discover the meaning of true friendship. The duo have very different philosophical outlooks and the sometimes sharp contrast between the pair forms a central theme in the novel. It is a thought-provoking book exploring the psychology of conflict and how men cope with the immense trauma and terrible stresses of war. The narrative skilfully navigates around the complexities, contradictions and absurdities inherent in the wartime concept of ‘the enemy’ and how impossible it is to sustain such an idea in a conflict-free environment. It is set on an idyllic Pacific island largely untouched by the savage winds of WWII. The book is extremely well-researched and will appeal to those already familiar with Japan as well as the ordinary reader.

Under The Sun had a well attended book launch in Holland Park, London on 1st November 2007 at which the author, Justin Kerr-Smiley, signed copies of the novel and answered questions about the novel.