With readers around the world embracing novels like Gone to Soldiers, The Nightingale, and Everyone Brave Is Forgiven, it's clear that I'm not the only one who loves stunning and beautiful World War II fiction. Several months ago, I read All the Light We Cannot See by Marge Piercy and fell in love with its unique kaleidoscopic perspectives on the war. I have since been on a hunt for more World War II fiction that portrays the war from viewpoints outside of Europe. I have discovered many novels that show the war as it played out in Asia, America, and the Pacific. Here are just a few I most look forward to reading.
The Kitchen God's Wife by Amy Tan
After a lifetime of keeping the terrible truth about her past a secret, Winnie finally tells her daughter about her life on a small island outside Shanghai during World War II, detailing both the happy and desperate events that led her to immigrate to America after the war.
A Town Like Alice by Nevil Shute
Jean Paget, an Englishwoman living in Malaya, is captured by the Japanese and forced into a seven-month death march. Managing to survive this nightmare, Jean begins a search for the young Australian soldier who risked his life to help the women during this harrowing ordeal.
A Pale View of Hills by Kazuo Ishiguro
While many know Kazuo Ishiguro's The Remains of the Day and its film adaptation starring Anthony Hopkins and Emma Thompson, we also recommend A Pale View of Hills. Told from the perspective of a Japanese woman living in England, this one is set during the aftermath of the war in Nagasaki.
The Wives of Los Alamos by TaraShea Nesbit
While their husbands worked in secret labs inventing the atomic bomb, this group of wives joined together in Los Alamos, New Mexico. Friendships were forged and children grew up, all while their families struggled with the burden of their contribution to the most destructive force in the history of mankind and the war raging across the ocean.
Jasmine Nights by Julia Gregson
Based on the true accounts of female entertainers who acted as spies during World War II, Jasmine Nights is the story of one singer asked to help the British Secret Service in the Middle East--and of her love, a handsome fighter pilot back in the cockpit after being wounded during a crash.
Nanjing Requiem by Ha Jin
With the Japanese poised to invade Nanjing, the American dean of Jinling Women's College decides to stay to protect the Chinese men and women who work there. Following the invasion, the school becomes a refugee camp for more than ten thousand homeless women and children, and the dean finds herself fighting on their behalf.
Tales of the South Pacific by James A. Michener
The inspiration for the Broadway play South Pacific, this gripping novel won the Pulitzer Prize. With the backdrop of a tropical paradise, soldiers and sailors prepare for war, a young Marine falls for a Tonkinese girl, and a Navy nurse finds her prejudices challenged by a French aristocrat.
Empire of the Sun by J.G. Ballard
Empire of the Sun, the basis of the eponymous Steven Spielberg film, tells the story of a young boy struggling to survive World War II in China. A prisoner in a Japanese concentration camp, he witnesses the bombing of Nagasaki and comes of age in a blighted new world.
Perfidia by James Ellroy
In December 1941, Los Angeles is gripped by war fever and racial hatred. After the horrific murder of a Japanese family, three men and one woman are drawn into a political firestorm as America stands on the edge of war.
See the full list at Off the Shelf, a daily blog that connects great readers with great books.
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