After Darkness by Christine Piper
It is early 1942 and Australia is in the midst of war.While working at a Japanese hospital in the pearling port of Broome, Dr Ibaraki is arrested as an enemy alien and sent to Loveday internment camp in a remote corner of South Australia. There, he learns to live among a group of men who are divided by culture and allegiance. As tensions at the isolated camp escalate, the doctor is forced to confront his dark past: the promise he made in Japan and its devastating consequences.
First Impressions: The writing style was lovely and I was immediately drawn into Ibaraki’s story.
Highlights: I liked the way the story moved back and forth in time. The author plants a lot of hints about different events that make you want to keep reading. 1940s Broome was brought to life, as was Tokyo; I didn’t feel let down by one setting over another. If anything, I would have liked more detail about everyday life in Broome’s Jap Town! The internment camp was interesting to read about but for me it was overshadowed by silences in the other settings. I also wanted to learn more about the lives led by the Japanese internees from other areas of the Pacific – how intriguing must their stories be! Ibaraki’s reasons for leaving Japan are heartbreaking. I found this novel hard to put down.
If I was an editor: I did worry at one point that this novel came a bit too close to becoming a melodramatic romance but it scaled right back again. I don’t know if I like Ibaraki’s final decision but I can’t think of another way for the novel to end.
Overall: Tender historical fiction.
After Darkenss: 5 Stars