47. The Devil of Nanking: Mo Hayder

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47. The Devil of Nanking: Mo Hayder

Post  Patguy on Wed Dec 30, 2009 2:08 am

A thriller, set in 1990s Tokyo and 1937 Nanking. The contemporary story and the flashback story run in parallel throughout the book, and both are resolved together, in a climax that somehow also manages to speak to the book’s deep emotional undercurrents. Few events I know of, even in the terrible 20th Century, compare to the horror of what the Imperial Japanese Army did to Nanking, and this book, and the book’s heroine, is haunted and obsessed with it. It’s that seriousness of purpose (the author dedicates the book to Iris Chang) that prevents this from being trashy and exploitative. The end was surprising, not because of what happened, but because I didn’t expect it to be so emotionally arresting. There is an emotional realness to this book that makes it a literary work as well as a thriller.

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