- Title: The Sea of Trees
- Author: Yannick Murphy
- ISBN: 9780395850121
- Page: 317
- Format: Hardcover
In her first novel, Yannick Murphy surveys the landscape of imperialism through the unflinching gaze of an adolescent girl named Tian Her name short for Christiane is a mark of her divided loyalties Half French and half Chinese, Tian is detained in an isolated jungle camp when the Japanese invade Indochina at the outset of World War II With spellbinding candor, TianIn her first novel, Yannick Murphy surveys the landscape of imperialism through the unflinching gaze of an adolescent girl named Tian Her name short for Christiane is a mark of her divided loyalties Half French and half Chinese, Tian is detained in an isolated jungle camp when the Japanese invade Indochina at the outset of World War II With spellbinding candor, Tian details her life in the camp while she waits for liberation with her mother, her baby sister, and her Chinese amah Tian takes a remarkably clear eyed view of her circumstances The camp is a perilous place, where brutality can slip without warning into nightmarish comedy Tian s mother escapes into memory, filling the tropical nights with tales of France and lost romance Her amah proffers enigmatic bits of ancient wisdom But with all the stark frankness of youth, Tian maintains an unnerving pragmatism and an unbending will to survive These prove to be her salvation when at last she and her family cross the sea of trees that separates them from freedom, and they journey from Shanghai to Saigon to Marseilles, making their way to America The Sea of Trees is both raw and beautiful From one girl s small corner of one moment in history, it encompasses a universal indictment of war s psychic toll on family and country Based on stories from the author s own family and laced with Chinese folklore, it adds a distinctly feminine contour to the map of empire.
Recent Comments "The Sea of Trees"
Told from the perspective of a young girl named Tian, half French, half Chinese this novel weaves folklore with Murphy's own mystical writing style while exploring the difficulties of growing up. The novel begins with Tian and her family in a Japanese camp during WWII. Tian is on the brink of adolescence and being a prisoner of war adds a surreal twist to the problems of growing up. The novel follows Tian's acute observation of the individuals and the world around her as she moves from the camp [...]
This book has all the pluses that the reviews said. I did like it. I found it a tiny bit disappointing as historical fiction. She worked so hard at staying in the voice of the protagonist that she missed a hundred opportunities to give us a little context to understand what was happening better. I'm pretty vague about the state of the map in that part of the world both just before and just after the war. The family seemed to have lived in both Shanghai and somewhere in Vietnam. Was it easy to mo [...]
This is a marvelous book -- rich in imagery, uniquely structured. I didn't finish it simply because I just can't currently read a book about a young girl in a prison camp. When I can stand the heartbreak, I'll turn back to it.
This is unquestionably one of my favorite books of all time. I appreciate the haunting and artful way in which she spins this story of perserverance.
Really strong book. war, loss, love, madness. great young female narrator.
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