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Start your review of King Rat Asian Saga, 4 Write a review Shelves: own-a-copy , japan , reviewed , friends-of-my-youth , , i-saw-the-movie-too Changi was set like a pearl on the eastern tip of Singapore Island, iridescent under the bowl of tropical skies. It stood on a slight rise and around it was a belt of green, and farther off the green gave way to the blue-green seas and the seas to infinity of horizon. This beautiful opening line is like a promise of fantastic adventure, exotic trip, it evokes some delightful place, a mystery island you always dreamt about but it is anything but it.
Changi was the inhuman Japanese camp for the Changi was set like a pearl on the eastern tip of Singapore Island, iridescent under the bowl of tropical skies. I had read some camp stories already but mostly European, and though my knowledge of the war on the Pacific is only basic this one felt very reliable to me.
And is pretty damn well written. The two main characters of the novel are the men representing totally different approach to life: pragmatic and smart, self-made American named the King and Peter Marlowe, somewhat uptight English guy, well-educated and brought up in the family with military traditions. Both in readers and other prisoners the King arouses mixed feelings.
Disgust, sympathy, antipathy, open hostility and then again admiration. He just has a flair for organizing his life easier and seize any opportunity to gain some money and money will give him the rest.
The food, medicaments, cigarettes and something less tangible: sense of power. King Rat is a clash of personalities, a display of cynicism, lack of scruples and ability to adjust to any situation in the camp.
But also an extraordinary courage, solidarity and commitment. There is no easy explicitness here, no distinct line between that what you can accept and not feel irretrievably corrupted. It teaches you that to outlast the camp, like on the outside in fact, you need to be a part at least a small group, that the camp is not a place for a lone wolf.
I liked the dynamics between them, the way their relationship developed, what they went through and lessons they learnt from themselves. And if someone prefers more concise review, please, here it is. Of rats and men.
[PDF] King Rat Book (Asian Saga: Chronological Order) Free Download (368 pages)
Plot[ edit ] Corporal King is an anomaly in the Japanese prison camp. One of only a handful of Americans amongst the British and Australian inmates, he thrives through his conniving and black market enterprises; whereas others, nearly all of higher rank, struggle to survive sickness and starvation while trying to keep their civilised nature. As they become acquainted, Marlowe comes to like the man and appreciate his cunning. King has a different relationship with the lower class , seemingly-incorruptible British Provost , First Lieutenant Grey.
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Plot summary[ edit ] The novel opens in early Marlowe comes to the attention of the "King" an American corporal who has become the most successful trader and black marketeer in Changi , when King sees him conversing in Malay. Grey is attempting to maintain military discipline among the prisoners and sees King as the antithesis of his beliefs. As the son of a working-class family, Grey follows the rules for their own sake using his position as Provost Marshal to gain a status otherwise unavailable to him in British society. Despite being an enlisted man and undistinguished in civilian life, King has become a major power in the closed society of the P. Trading with Korean guards, local Malay villagers, and other prisoners for food, clothing, information, and what few luxuries are available, King keeps himself and his fellow American prisoners alive. Senior officers come to him for help in selling their valuables to buy food, and other officers are secretly on his payroll.
Clavell was educated at Portsmouth Grammar School , after which he returned to Australia. Though trained for desert warfare, after the attack on Pearl Harbor in December he was sent to Singapore to fight the Japanese. The ship taking his unit was sunk en route to Singapore, and the survivors were picked up by a Dutch boat fleeing to India. The commander, described by Clavell years later as a "total twit," insisted that they be dropped off at the nearest port to fight the war despite having no weapons. Later he was transferred to Changi Prison in Singapore, where only 1 in 15 prisoners survived.