Blurb (as on Goodreads):
A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel set in Singapore about a woman who survived the Japanese occupation and a man who thought he had lost everything. For fans of Min Jin Lee’s Pachinko and Georgia Hunter’s We Were the Lucky Ones.
Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.
In a neighbouring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is bundled into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery. After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced there still haunts her present.
In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is determined to find out the truth – wherever it might lead – after his grandmother makes a surprising confession on her deathbed, one she never meant Kevin to hear, setting in motion a chain of events he could never have foreseen.
Weaving together two timelines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. A profoundly moving novel, it is based partly on the author’s great-grandfather’s experiences.
Set in Singapore during Japan’s invasion of Malaysia, ‘How We Disappeared’ is the story of a woman who lost her identity during the war and a man who lost most of his family. Their strange marriage was one where talks on war were forbidden. But it wasn’t exactly their fault, it was all in the memories.
16-year-old Wand Di had a restricted childhood. She was forced to stay home and help her mother with the chores. But her worst nightmare started when she is forced into sexual slavery in a brother. These memories have haunted her for years, scarring her for life. When she marries a man who has lost his family to war, she is unable to offer any comfort and that is a constant source of regret.
In a parallel world, Kevin (a visually impaired child) finds out a secret about his family from his dying grandmother and is determined to find the truth behind it.
As Wand Di sets herself on a path to find out everything about her husband’s lost family (after his death), Kevin encounters a set of events that both astonishes him and breaks him anew.
The narrative varies between Wang Di’s present and past, as well as Kevin’s experience. The story explores pain in a raw manner, and it is extremely easy to connect with these characters. The plot might be slow at times, but the ending was satisfying and fulfilling.
Purchase Links: |Amazon Paperback|
*e-ARC courtesy: Netgalley*