How We Disappeared: Book summary and reviews of How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee

How We Disappeared

by Jing-Jing Lee

How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee X
How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee
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  • Published in USA  May 2019
    352 pages
    Genre: Historical Fiction

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Book Summary

A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel set in World War II Singapore about a woman who survived the Japanese occupation and a man who thought he had lost everything—for fans of Pachinko and We Were the Lucky Ones.

Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.

In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is strapped into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery as a "comfort woman." After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced still haunts her.

In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he never could have foreseen.

Weaving together two time lines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. Drawing in part on her family's experiences, Jing-Jing Lee has crafted a profoundly moving, unforgettable novel about human resilience, the bonds of family and the courage it takes to confront the past.

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Media Reviews

A Library Journal "Emerging Stars" Pick

"A beautifully written, suspenseful story of redemption and healing." - Booklist (starred review)

"A compelling story of generations haunted by war and the silence surrounding their suffering." - Kirkus Reviews

"A heartbreaking but hopeful story about memory, trauma and ultimately love, How We Disappeared explores the impact of the Japanese invasion of Singapore on the local people, in particular on the hellishly misnamed Comfort Women." - New York Times

"A heartbreaking story told with such humanity and grace. The details of How We Disappeared are so vivid they return to me in dreams." - Marti Leimbach, author of Daniel Isn't Talking

"How We Disappeared is a masterpiece of story-telling. Evocative and heart rending...beautifully written, exquisitely crafted, and utterly compelling." - Mary Chamberlain, author of The Dressmaker's War

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