The best book I’ve read this year is How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee. It is Singaporean Jing-Jing Lee’s debut novel. A compelling and deeply affecting story told beautifully, How We Disappeared comes highly recommended.
The story is a historical fiction set in Singapore during the World War ll. It narrates the story of Wang Di, a woman who survived the Japanese occupation and also of a man who thought he had lost everything.
The novel has two timelines with dual perspectives. The first is from teenage Wang Di and it is set during World War ll during the Japanese occupation of Singapore. The second timeline is in the year 2000 and told from the perspective of twelve-year old Kevin.
Excerpt from the novel:
Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked. Only three survivors remain, one of them a tiny child.
In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is bundled into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel. In 2000, her mind is still haunted by her experiences there, but she has long been silent about her memories of that time. It takes twelve-year-old Kevin, and the mumbled confession he overhears from his ailing grandmother, to set in motion a journey into the unknown to discover the truth.
How We Disappeared is an artfully crafted, incredibly written, well researched and heartbreaking yet hopeful story of survival, resilience, trauma, shame, healing and love.
Ending my little review with words written by Xinran on How We Disappeared. Xinran is the author of The Good Women of China. “This is brilliant, heartbreaking story with an unforgettable image of how women were silenced and disappeared by both war an culture.”