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Wow, what a story. It sounds very complex, brutal but definitely worthwhile. I admit this wouldn't be my typical read and if I had just read the book jacket I probably wouldn't think of adding to my list but reading you review will make me consider this one.


Iliana--I think a second read would be good--now that I know what to expect I could read for the deeper meaning. It was definitely outside my normal reading comfort zone, which is something that's good to do now and again.


What a courageous reader you are! I sort of knew from the start that I wouldn't get through this one. But it sounds like a very powerful piece of literature and the kind of novel about ethical concerns that a person really ought to read.


I just googled more info about the vivisections performed on POWs...and don't think I could get through the book. I wasn't aware that this had occurred.


Just reading about this book in this sensitive and well written review you have given here makes me uneasy, Danielle. I have read about the horrors of war, both fiction and nonfiction, and travel through those pages uncomfortably but make it through them, but, vivisections is almost more than I can handle. Then, I think, if I don't hear and read about such atrocities, do I help to perpetuate their occurrences by turning my head away?
Provocative review - and I might at least give The Sea and Poison a try.


Litlove--It's a great book to read in a group or book club. I didn't quite realize what the subject matter was at first--just bought the book knowing it was about WWII. Thankfully it wasn't really explicit--almost clinical really, but it's amazing what your imagination can fill in!
Jenclair--I read another book a while back that referenced vivisections on POWs so I was aware--but it is extremely distasteful to think about. There were only a few scenes that were unpleasant, and nothing graphic, but otherwise a really excellent book.
Penny--I haven't read any books about WWII for a long time and it is uncomfortable to think about.I had never read about this particular occurrence--it makes you wonder how wars can keep happening--it's all really terribly sad. I'm glad I read it for just the reason you mention--educating yourself on the world and history would hopefully make us wiser. I do hope I've not put people off--it was not as bad as I was expecting--Endo seemed to treat it all very sensitively. It is one that I do recommend!


Strange, I left a long comment yesterday thanking you for participating and adding a few things... It has gone.
Well, here goes - somewhat changed- , thanks for participating and your thoughtful review. I'm glad I read Novroz' review first and knew that it wouldn't be graphic. It's not a nice book but a very interesting, bleak look at human nature.


Wow, this sounds really good in spite of all the horror. Glad to hear it isn't that graphic. I have a chance then of acutally reading it!


Caroline--Sorry about that--not sure what happened but I hate it when comments get eaten up. I checked my spam folder in the off chance it ended up there, but nothing but nasty messages that were immediately deleted by me. You did let me know but I guess it was the few references I had read about the experiments that had me a little on edge. It is not a pleasant story, but it was interesting and well done, too.
Stefanie--If it were a movie (and actually I think it was indeed made into a movie) there are a few scenes where I would cover my eyes, but most of the story is scene setting. I think you'll be safe if you ever decide to read it.

Dorothy W.

This sounds really interesting. I wonder if it would make a good pairing with the H.G. Wells novel we read with the Slaves? That was about vivisection as well, although of animals in that case. It sounds like a really interesting, if difficult, book.


Dorothy--This is a great book to read in a group as there is lots to talk about--I hadn't thought of the Wells but they would be good to read together to contrast--lots of ethical matters in both! Both were good reads.

Anna Horner

Thanks for linking to my review. This was a very dark book and it certainly gives you much to think about. I just had problems with the structure; it really was all over the place!

I'll link to your review on War Through the Generations.


Anna--It was very dark. I think I was so caught up in the story that the way Endo framed it sort of flew by me, but thinking back it does move around a lot. I had to flip back to see who had just talked and how the characters related. Somehow I think this is a book that would do well with a second read, though I'm not sure I'll be brave enough to do so anytime soon.

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