In her haunting first novel, Yannick Murphy surveys the landscape of imperialism through the unflinching gaze of an adolescent girl. Set in Indochina in the 1940s - well before American intervention - in the territory that is now Vietnam, it is narrated by the clear-eyed Tian, daughter of a French mother and Chinese father, who is taken prisoner when the Japanese invade Shanghai. The camp is a nightmarish place, where horror sometimes slips surrealistically into comedy as the prisoners watch for liberators to cross the sea of trees that separates them from freedom. Here it is women who become Tian's first allies, especially her passionate young mother and wily amah, who instill pluck, pragmatism, and an unbending will to survive. In a voice that rings with the startling frankness of youth, The Sea of Trees combines imagery both raw and beautiful. Based on stories from the author's own family history and laced with Chinese folklore, it adds a distinctly female contour to the map of empi
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Published May 14, 1997
by Houghton Mifflin.
History, Literature & Fiction, War.