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The Sea of Trees Hardcover – May 14, 1997
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From Library Journal
In the compelling voice of the elder daughter of an aristocratic Frenchwoman and a Chinese military officer, first novelist Murphy tells of a time (the 1940s) and a place (Indochina) peopled by men with clashing political goals and the women and children who lived through the ensuing horrors of war and refugee life. When we meet Tian at 12, she is practical and precocious, traits that serve her well in the coming years as she and her family are imprisoned by the Japanese, find themselves stranded in Saigon at the end of World War II, and eventually make their way to France and then New York. The adults in Tian's life are strong and reckless: she witnesses her father's midnight visits to her jealous mother while they are held in the Japanese prison camp; years later, she tracks her mother to the French consulate in Saigon, where the typhoid-fevered woman has been spending each day awaiting news of her missing husband. Through the years and across continents, Tian plies the trade she honed in the prison camp, translating for the invading army. She is not corrupted by this compromise, however, but remains authentic and caring. This inspiring view of the unvanquished human soul belongs in all collections.?Francisca Goldsmith, Berkeley P.L., Cal.
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc.
Christianne, daughter of a French mother and a Chinese father, is the unflinching narrator of this first novel set during and immediately following World War II. When we first meet Tian, she is approximately 10 years old and, along with her mother and newborn sister, is in a Japanese prison camp in Indochina. At war's end, Tian and her family go home to Shanghai, only to find themselves embroiled in the fighting between the Nationalist Chinese and the insurgent Communists. Hoping futilely for peace and news of Tian's father, who has disappeared in China while fighting with the Nationalist army, the women return to Saigon. When the growing tension between the French and the Vietnamese explodes into violence, the family travels on to France. There, Tian continues her interrupted adolescence, meets and marries an American student, and moves to the U.S. with her husband and mother. Tian's experiences are related in a stoic monotone, almost matter-of-factly, as befits a little girl who is determined to survive despite being forced into adulthood by the brutalities of war. Nancy Pearl
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