Empire of the Sun

Empire of the Sun

by J. G. Ballard


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Product Details

ISBN-13: 9780743265232
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication date: 03/01/2005
Edition description: Reprint
Pages: 288
Sales rank: 175,833
Product dimensions: 5.50(w) x 8.43(h) x 0.80(d)
Lexile: 1130L (what's this?)

About the Author

J.G. Ballard is the author of numerous books, including Concrete Island, The Kindness of Women, and Crash. He is revered as one of the most important writers of fiction to address the consequences of twentieth-century technology. He lives in England.

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Empire of the Sun 4.2 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 19 reviews.
songcatchers More than 1 year ago
This book actually deserves 3.5 stars.
Empire of the Sun is the true story of Jim, a British boy who survives WWII in occupied China by courage and a strong will to survive. He's separated from his parents at the start of the war and is left to his own resourcefulness to become a survivor. The story itself is an amazing firsthand account of war through the eyes of a child. Jim never lets himself slip into despondency or despair. He keeps his spirit alive by watching the air strikes in wonder and awe, by keeping a pet turtle in the internment camp, by reading over and over again the same Life and Reader's Digest magazines and by trying to befriend and help guards and prisoners alike. Empire of the Sun is a great story but I find the writing to be somewhat lacking. It's boring in parts and rather slow. If you can plod through, the book is worth reading when looked back on in it's entirety. People can gain something from seeing the survival of an 11 year old boy in the face of extreme adversity.
Vintage_Violet28 More than 1 year ago
I had to read this book for a school assignment, so at first at was worried that I wouldn't like but I loved it! It's a really good story. It gives a different view of World War II, a part that many people might not know about. And a plus is that it's told through a kids eyes and most war based books are not. If you like World War II, fighter planes, China, or Japan this book is a must!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this book was great!!!! I could hardly put it down...you must read this book!!!!!!!
Guest More than 1 year ago
this was an amazing book. it truely shows the sorrow at times of war, and relating to the main character is both simple and priceless. Not a traditional war story, though, because you get put in a little boys' body and see his point of view, a story of survival and people.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Be grateful of this man a 32 year coreer in the U.S.Marine corps with 4 years of that survice as a japanese prisoner of war he died on january 2 1999 at 98 he was one of the last of the old corps he receved three navy crosses google his name and learn his story
Guest More than 1 year ago
Empire of the Sun is a well-written book. I think, it even touches you more, because it is a true story. J.G. Ballard is an excellent writer, and should get great praise for this story. I give Empire of the Sun, 5 stars!
labfs39 on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I dislike books that claim to be autobiographies, but are actually fictionalized memoirs. I¿m sure we can all think of a couple that have made headlines in recent years. In the forward to his book, the author, J.G. Ballard, writes:Empire of the Sun describes my experiences in Shanghai, China, during the Second World War, and in Lunghua C.A.C (Civilian Assembly Center), where I was interned from 1942 to 1945. For the most part this novel is an eyewitness account of events I observed during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai and within the camp at Lunghua.The story that he goes on to tell is heart-rending, yet inspirational. As a boy, Jim grew up in the luxurious world of a British ex-pat in Shanghai. Then, on the same day as the bombing of Pearl Harbor, eleven-year-old Jim¿s life shatters. Separated from his parents in the chaos of the Japanese takeover, Jim lives in the houses of the international district until he joins forces with Basie, a lowlife who admits to trying to sell Jim and yet becomes a father figure that teaches him how to survive in this new world. Eventually caught and sent to Lunghua concentration camp, Jim works the system as he was taught, but is also helped by a friendly fellow captive, Dr. Ransome. When the war ends, danger continues to lurk as Jim strives to find his parents.Action-packed, heart-rending, and inspirational, the story makes for a page-turning read. Unfortunately, my enjoyment of the book was tainted by the knowledge that J.G. Ballard was never separated from his parents and sister and lived with them in Lunghua. The difference that this one fact makes is enormous. Although I can¿t discount the vivid descriptions that Ballard gives of wartime Shanghai and Lunghua, neither can I believe them, as I am constantly wondering where the line between fact and fiction lies. Give me an autobiography or give me a historical novel loosely based on the author¿s experiences, but please don¿t try to pass one off as the other.
cuttoothom on LibraryThing 10 months ago
An autobiographical account of Ballard's childhood years spent during the Japanese occupation in Shanghai during World War II, Empire of the Sun is an effective and evocative tale of survival. The setting and the historical context, and the way which the two are described in a beautiful, tragic story, should fascinate students. The book can be taught with assistance from Spielberg's wonderful film adaptation.Note: contains some graphic violence.
afderrick on LibraryThing 10 months ago
An incredible book. While reading this book I realized I had never heard much about the WW2 in the pacific outside of the American military operations of island hoping and the movies that came out of those events. I found this book very interesting. What was more surprising is it was based of Ballard's actual events that occurred to him during this time. I found myself wanting to so bad to know that everything would turn out well in the end. There were a few missing points in the book that I wish I could know the answer to, like what happened to certain individuals after the end of the book. I'm trying really hard not to spoil the book for anyone who has not read it yet. I felt my mind completely engrossed in the book and I found myself day dreaming during the day and finding myself at Lunghua camp and realizing how grateful I should be that my meal is more than just rice and a sweet potato. Would I say this book changed my life? Doubtful but it has made me more interested to read other books of the same nature, I want to go and read a book of someone who was in a concentration camp in Germany and then sit and compare what they had to go through, I would also be more interested now in reading more books of the pacific world war 2
nakedsushi on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I would classify Empire of the Sun as an adventure novel about a boy¿s life during the Japanese occupation of Shanghai in WWII.The book is graphic and spares no details about how people die, but it wasn¿t graphic to the point where I had to put it down. Halfway through reading this, I realized that it was not fiction and was actually an autobiography, which made it a bit more difficult to read the particularly gruesome parts.Empire of the Sun not only has an accurate portrayal of how a teenage boy would act during internment, but also the thoughts that would run through his head. There are parts in the book which had me on the edge of my seat because I was sure the boy was about to die, but knew that it couldn¿t happen logically since it¿s a biography.Ballard not only provides an exciting adventure story, but also great insight into the human condition. While I wouldn¿t exactly call this an uplifting book, I did feel better after reading it. I feel the same way about it as I feel about Schindler¿s List: I wouldn't call it enjoyable, but it's definitely something that people should read.
wktarin on LibraryThing 10 months ago
Enthralling true account of survival.
jeniwren on LibraryThing 10 months ago
The author has drawn upon his own experiences as a child interned in a camp for POW's in Shanghai during WW2. After the bombing of Japanese forces on Pearl Harbour 'Jim' is separated from his parents. After several months surviving on the streets he is taken to a camp. This is no light read with detailed descriptions of executions, the effects of starvation and Jim's way of coping amid all the horror that surrounds him makes for a harrowing read. His survival was largely due to his youthful resilience but there can be no doubt as to the lasting trauma of such an experience.
M.Campanella on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I often find myself not really reviewing a book but defending it from its detractors. I enjoyed Ballard¿s work to the extent that after I read it I ran off to buy another by him. So when I read some of the reviews about this book, I became defensive.I do not know to what extent the book is Autobiographical, nor to what extent it was meant to be. Ballard mentions that the novel is based upon what he witnessed as a child during that period, but I think we are supposed to take that statement lightly. The main character never makes a mention of a sister. Some biographical material on Ballard brought up that after the Second World War he returned to England with his sister.It is a fine point, but one worth mentioning. Other people seem to think that tale unrealistic. I cannot comment too much ¿ I count myself amongst the lucky who have not spent time in a concentration camp. However if we look at the text we do find a protagonist who from the young age of 10 is constantly thinking about war. In the next part of the book he is 14. War as a presence has been around his life for half of it, and War as a very real thing has been his life for a little less than a third of it, through many of what people would call formulative years. I can¿t be sure, but I feel his actions could be justified.
amerynth on LibraryThing 10 months ago
This is a difficult book for me to review. While I can appreciate the literary mastery of J.G. Ballard's "Empire of the Sun," I can't say I particularly enjoyed reading it. Ballard's autobiographical tale of Jim, a British child who does anything it takes to survive living in an interment camp during World War II in China, is incredibly stark and brutal. I disliked Jim as a character so much that it sort of tainted my enjoyment of this book. It's a tough look at some of the more negative aspects of human nature -- admittedly with stunning imagery and situations. In the end, it's a book I'm glad I read, but not one I'll ever pick up again.
datrappert on LibraryThing 10 months ago
I failed to get as much out of this one as others have. It is a good tale of survival and highlights the experience of those Western expats who found themselves in the path of the Japanese onslaught, but it didn't provide me the insight into Shanghai itself that I was hoping for. I'll blame this on my own bias, since having been an expat in Shanghai, I was looking for something that was as fascinating as Georges Spunt's extraordinary account of his youth in Shanghai, A Place in Time.
Zohrab on LibraryThing 10 months ago
A novel that is also autobiography of the auther. Good description of being a kid and a victim of war. Griping enough to make you feel as part of the war.
Anonymous More than 1 year ago
Perspective from child very realistic
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