CLASH OF HONOR by Robert Mendelsohn


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A first novel about two grown children of WW II antagonists who seek atonement and revenge in modern Asia. An unfortunately overwrought prologue gives way to a more temperate and well-told story of an Englishwoman and a Japanese man whose fathers, thrown together in occupied Singapore, found that they had more in common with each other than with their fellow soldiers. That friendship was not, however, enough to prevent the death of the Englishman--a death that Anna Bellingham, the late Derek Bellingham's daughter, has come to Tokyo in 1975 to avenge. Her target is Keichi Katsumata, the outsized, gentle lieutenant whose wartime orders had been to take Bellingham and an English army physician to Burma and trade them for a captured Japanese officer or, if the trade failed, to kill them. But she has arrived too late: Katsumata has just died. Following the directions of her obsessed Spanish mother, Anna shifts her sights to Katsumata's up-and-coming son Yoshiro, who is only now learning his father's wartime history as it is told to him in episodes by his father's old superior officer. On the way to ruining Yoshiro, Anna falls into a strange and unnerving sexual relationship with him. This mutual obsession does not lead to any useful understanding between the two, nor does it prevent Yoshiro's mounting sense of shame as he comes to believe in his responsibility for her family's tragedy. After she has left Yoshiro to trace her father's last days in Burma and Thailand, Anna is joined by the doctor who was with him at the end and learns the complete story. It was not at all what her mother taught her. Like the best of Nevil Shute, as ordinary people scramble to put order to pressures of war, revenge, honor and culture.

Pub Date: Feb. 1st, 1990
ISBN: 1-85375-002-6
Publisher: Prion/Trafalgar
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