"Liu's prose is masterful. A good choice for book groups and for readers who are unafraid to be swept away."—*Starred Booklist Review*
"With a mesmerizing setting and transporting detail, Glorious Boy balances tropical beauty with raw, physical risk, and dives deep into grim truths about parental love and the power and limitation of language. This is a page-turner, sometimes violent but always revelatory. Readers won’t easily forget the trials this young couple faces, or the landscape that changes them all."—Five Star Review from The Seattle Review of Books
What will it take to save Ty? This is the question that haunts Claire and Shep Durant in the wake of their four-year-old’s disappearance. Until this moment, Port Blair’s British surgeon and his young wife, a promising anthropologist, have led a charmed life in the colonial backwaters of India’s Andaman Islands—thanks in part to Naila, a local girl who shares their mysteriously mute son’s silent language. But with the war closing in and mandatory evacuation underway, the Durants don’t realize until too late that Naila and Ty have vanished. While Claire sails for Calcutta, Shep stays to search for the children. Days later, the Japanese invade the Andamans, cutting off all communication. Fueled by guilt and anguish, Claire uses her unique knowledge of the islands’ tribes to make herself indispensable to an all-male reconnaissance team headed back behind enemy lines. Her secret plan: rescue Shep and Ty. Through the brutal odyssey that follows, she’ll discover truths about sacrifice that both shatter and transcend her understanding of devotion.
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|Publisher:||Red Hen Press|
|Product dimensions:||6.00(w) x 8.90(h) x 0.80(d)|
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First, a small uninhabitable pincushion of palm trees appeared on the turquoise sea. Then a massive green monolith rose behind it, like a waking dinosaur. The behemoth’s coat of forest green undulated, dense and vast as a creature in its own right—a creature intent on driving the slender white snake of beach back into the ocean.
“There's no one there,” she said, struck by the confounding blend of beauty, humidity, and heat that seemed to emanate from the island.
“No seeums,” Shep quipped, but his heart wasn’t in it, either.
Claire gripped the bulwark, fighting a surge of nausea. His arm wound like a question mark around her waist. Who did they think they were fooling? Both of them, impostors.
Over the next six hours the shoreline remained relentlessly wild. They spotted a couple of isolated coastal villages, but even these looked deserted. Then a distant lighthouse blinked. Atop a bluff beyond, a regimental block of concrete rose, spiked with gleaming antennae.
“There.” Shep looked up from the gazetteer spread-eagled in his palm. Hope and relief cracked his voice as he pointed out Ross Island, their new home.
The hillock stretched like a long green breaker at the entrance to a harbor that abruptly bristled with boats. A mirage is how Claire will remember this first impression. A miniature replica of the world she thought she’d left behind. A dark gothic church with a soaring steeple. The semblance of a town square and parade ground. Victorian houses along the ridge, with gabled roofs and wide verandas, pale gingerbread trim. The colonial residents themselves were scarce, but small brown figures in white uniforms appeared and disappeared among the towering shade trees, multiplying at the southern end of the island, where the western architecture yielded to a dark brick scramble of shop houses and the humanity of a bazaar. The Hindu temple on the waterfront resembled a multicolored stack of Life Savers.
The Ross cantonment was the seat of British power for the entire Andaman archipelago, but to reach it, they had first to continue across the harbor to disembark on the “mainland,” where Port Blair proper stretched like a lizard's claw out of the forest’s interior. There, white-washed bungalows like those throughout India ranged along the slopes, and high on the lizard's outmost knuckle stood an imposing fortress with rose-colored crenellations.
“The Cellular Jail,” Shep said.
Claire gazed up at the pink castle walls. Inside—reputedly—the Raj’s most hardened convicts sweltered. By design, the whole port functioned as one vast concentration camp, but since the inmates’ dominant crime was their will to fight for independence, Claire felt far more disgust for their British overlords than she did any fear of the prisoners themselves. The anxiety playing across Shep’s face told her he’d been secretly dreading this inevitability as much as she’d been trying to ignore it. He was now working for those overlords, after all, and she was their subject by marriage.
“It’s strangely picturesque,” she offered. “Maybe things won’t be so bad.”