Today's book is
The Gift of Rain
This was under the category: Book by an Author from Southeast Asia
This is the story of 16 year old Phillip Hutton. He is half Chinese, half English and from a prominent family in Penang. While his siblings and father are away on vacation, he chooses to stay home alone. He gets to know Hayato Endo who is a Japanese diplomat. Philip spends time showing Endo around and in return Endo teaches him Japanese and aikido. When the Japanese invade Malaya, Phillip learns that Endo is a Japanese spy. It is clear that Endo has taught Philip aikido to help save his life and possibly the life of his family.
This is a pretty good book. I have to admit I had a hard time getting into it. I don't think it was the book's fault, though. I think it was when I was trying to read it, so I don't want to judge it too harshly. I did like the characters. Endo-san and Phillip develop almost a father/son relationship. Since Phillip's mother had died when he was a baby, and she was his Chinese ancestor, he never felt as close to his father and half siblings. This book does a good job mixing the three cultures together - Western, Chinese, and Japanese.
I have read a lot of WWII books/pre-WWII books, but this is the first one from Southeast Asia. I recommend trying it out.