The Black Isle: Book summary and reviews of The Black Isle by Sandi Tan

The Black Isle

by Sandi Tan

The Black Isle by Sandi Tan
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  • Published in USA  Aug 2012
    480 pages
    Genre: Novels

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Book Summary

Uprooted from Shanghai with her father and twin brother, young Cassandra finds the Black Isle's bustling, immigrant-filled seaport, swampy jungle, and grand rubber plantations a sharp contrast to the city of her childhood. And she soon makes another discovery: the Black Isle is swarming with ghosts.

Haunted and lonely, Cassandra at first tries to ignore her ability to see the restless apparitions that drift down the street and crouch in cold corners at school. Yet despite her struggles with these spirits, Cassandra comes to love her troubled new home. And soon, she attracts the notice of a dangerously charismatic man.

Even as she becomes a fearless young woman, the Isle's dark forces won't let her go. War is looming, and Cassandra wonders if her unique gift might be her beloved island's only chance for salvation . . .

Taking readers from the 1920s, through the Japanese occupation during WWII, to the Isle's radical transformation into a gleaming cosmopolitan city, The Black Isle is a sweeping epic--a deeply imagined, fiercely original tale from a vibrant new voice in fiction.

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Reviews

Media Reviews

"Her descriptions of the supercilious British and the arrogant, depraved Japanese are brutally candid. Her stark, knife-sharp images of horror-inducing events...are not for fainthearted readers, but the tale as a whole maintains its mesmerizing power throughout." - Publishers Weekly

"Tan constructs a debut novel that is beautifully written yet deeply disturbing. Gritty and intensely erotic, it grips readers with Cassandra's visions while pushing them away with the brutality of her life. Not a story for the faint of heart, it will engage those looking for a gothic depiction of WWII in Asia and the ghosts that haunt us." - Library Journal

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Sandi Tan was born in Singapore and has an MFA in screenwriting from Columbia University. Her short films have been shown around the world at venues such as the New York Film Festival, Clermont-Ferrand, MoMA, and on European television. She lives in Pasadena, California, with her husband, the critic John Powers, and their bossy Siamese, Nico.

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