Adriaan van Dis My Father's War

ISBN 13: 9780099443544

My Father's War

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9780099443544: My Father's War

Born in Holland after the war, a son grows up an outsider in the midst of his family. Living in isolation among the dunes of coastal Holland, he looks on as his half-caste half-sisters are mocked for their 'blue skin', endures the bizarre and brutal military training his father puts him through, and wonders about the wartime hardships his family suffered but never discusses. Years later, the middle-aged son begins a quest into his family's past in Indonesia, and the origins of his father's strange mix of charm and cruelty. Despite his sisters' denials and his mother's evasiveness, details surface about the incredible endurance of his father, one of the few survivors of torture in the camp. Returning always to the Dutch coast where he spent his childhood, the man comes to a final acceptance of his father and a new understanding of their relationship.

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Review:

Adriaan van Dis employs masterful skill in telling this rich story of a Dutch man who, in midlife, is coming to terms with the losses in his life and their effect on his family. His half sister's death revives memories of his father, a Dutch soldier who spent three years in a Japanese concentration camp only to die in the Netherlands when the narrator was 11. The drama unfolds as he uncovers the complicated history of his family and realizes what he remembers of his father doesn't match the recollections of others. That this book can address themes as diverse as sibling relationships, child abuse, war, and repressed memories with such subtlety and even a touch of humor is testament to both the quality of van Dis's writing and the expertise of his translator, Claire Nicolas White.

From the Back Cover:

My Father's War is the gripping story of a son's struggle to understand his family's wartime experience in a Japanese concentration camp, and to come to terms with its effects on him. Born in Holland after the war, the boy grows up an outsider in the midst of his part-Indonesian family. Living in isolation among the dunes of coastal Holland, he looks on as his father and sisters are mocked for their "yellow skin", endures the bizarre and brutal military training his father puts him through, and wonders about the hardships his family suffered but never mentions. Years later, the middle-aged son begins a quest into his family's past in Indonesia, and the origins of his father's strange mix of charm and cruelty. Despite his sisters's denial and his mother's evasiveness, details surface about the incredible endurance of his father, one of the few survivors of torture in the camp. Returning always to the dunes of his childhood, the man comes to a final acceptance of his father and a new understanding of their relationship.

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Adriaan van Dis
Published by Vintage (2005)
ISBN 10: 0099443546 ISBN 13: 9780099443544
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Adriaan van Dis
Published by Vintage (2005)
ISBN 10: 0099443546 ISBN 13: 9780099443544
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Dis, Adriaan van
Published by Vintage (2005)
ISBN 10: 0099443546 ISBN 13: 9780099443544
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