This audio edition has extra material from the original manuscript that s never been published before including an introduction written by Clavell s son Clavell was a prisoner in the Changi POW camp that this book centers around He wrote this during a screenwriter s strike in 1962, a fictionalized account of his own incarceration there While he inspired the Phillip Marlowe character Who also shows up in Noble House there really was a character who inspired The King I m not sure how much is fact or fiction, but think there s enough fact to put it on my sort of nonfiction shelf.
The extra material are chapters covering the story of some of the women whose men are in the prison camp They re a great addition His mother had written to him weekly On his release he received the letters During his incarceration, he neither sent nor received any His mother wrote all those letters not knowing if he was alive or not Uncertainty is hell the Japanese, although they signed the Geneva Convention, never ratified it nor did they follow it.
The Princeton Bio for James Clavell James Clavellhttp en.
org wiki JamesClIIRC, when I first read this decades ago, 98% of the American s in the Japanese POW camps died Those are no longer the figures I m seeing when I google this now the Princeton Bio says only 1% of the prisoners at Changi died while Clavell says 90% Overall, 1 4 1 3 of the prisoners died according to most sources By all accounts, most deaths were due to disease starvation exacerbated by extremely crowded conditions Clavell does a superb job describing everything, although it s awful Clavell, a 6 tall man, weighed 98 lbs when released from Changi, likely a bit than half what he should have weighed He writes that death was a mercy to some many lost their health completely, going blind, losing all their teeth, among other horrors The end was the most interesting The entire book is based on how horrible the camp is, yet what happens when the war ends You need to read it to find out Wow Wikipedia Changi Prisonhttp en.
org wiki ChangiPThe original prison was built to hold 600 prisoners, but the Japanese used it to hold 3000 civilians during WWII This sort of overcrowding was apparently typical.
This was read by Dave Case He had a lot to live up to since 3 others in this series were read by John Lee who absolutely wowed me He did a good job.
Wikipedia King Rat novel King Rat film 1965 doesn t follow the book precisely, but was still a great movie.
This isn t quite the correct edition The ISBN doesn t match the language is English, but the narrator is Dave Case the publisher is books On Tape, so close enough.
I highly recommend reading this book ONCE in any format I can t recommend a reread That would be masochistic unless you let at least a couple of decades pass It s not pleasant, but really good.
The beginning of Clavell s truly epic series of culture clash novels is a curiously autobiographical book King Rat takes us to Changi, a Japanese prison camp during World War 2, where British and American soldiers are held in dire conditions We watch as people cling to honor, duty and any semblance of structure for their own mental health and survival Every observation about humanity in these conditions is interesting because Clavell himself was held in a Japanese prison camp during the war He controls his memories admirably in the novel, to create a very moving, but never selfishly irrational narrative His control creates a story that is never too hopeless to lose its deeper meaning, and that embraces its characters as real people, rather than tools for social messages Readers may be surprised by how entertaining such a dark story can be authors don t usually go the route Clavell travels King Rat has the least culture clash of Clavell s series, as most of the interactions are between the Westerners themselves and the major emotional crux is the captivity For new readers, do not be daunted by the series the books are tenuously related and can be read in almost any order you like As this book is the shortest and deals with the most characters of our own cultures, it may be the easiest introduction to James Clavell, though some readers may prefer to jump right into the deeper culture clash of Shogun or Noble House Regardless, please read at least one James Clavell book in your lifetime There is no one in historical fiction or literary fiction quite like him.
It s not cool to praise James Clavell and indeed, Shogun is extremely silly I recall a couple of Japanese people cringing when I once was foolish enough to mention it I believe they showed the series on Japanese TV But this book, which is based on Clavell s own experiences as a World War II prisoner of war, is pretty damn good There s something universal about his description of camp life He doesn t try and draw any moral, and there are no obvious symbolic associations, but at the end I found myself wondering what it was that I wasn t thinking about because I was so desperate to get enough food to stay alive Or how someone who hadn t been subjected to those pressures would view me It s worth reading 5, 10 ,.
This is the first volume in Clavell s Asian Saga, and was written about the Japanese prison camp of Changi located in Singapore, where the author himself was held as a POW during the late stages of World War II The King is a successful wheeling and dealing American Using capitalistic initiative, he concocts many money making schemes, the most shocking of which, involves breeding rats to sell as rabbit meat He generates feelings of hatred or envy in others, but everyone wants to be close to him in order to experience the material rewards that he provides He befriends an honorable British officer, Peter Marlowe, who acts as his interpreter and learns that many ethical dilemmas may be relative One of the most fascinating aspects occurs after the end of the war, when many of the POWs are fearful to return to normal life There are moments of excitement and drama, but mostly it is a testament to the strength and adaptability of the human spirit The story will be most interesting to those who enjoy military, historical, and cultural topics.
This was Clavell s first novel, and it shows a little bit A step or two below Shogun and Taipan , but that s an awfully high bar to set Loosely based off of Clavell s personal experiences in Changi POW camp during WWII, King Rat is slower paced than you might expect Nevertheless, it is entertaining with solid character development The conclusion is a bit muted and surprisingly introspective, but I think Clavell was looking for an accurate depiction of his experiences in Changi, rather than a crowd pleasing prison break Overall, a good book Especially considering he wrote it in 9 weeks.
,, a real good story teller not easy to be a master.