With readers around the world embracing novels like ALL THE LIGHT WE CANNOT SEE, 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 GONE TO SOLDIERS 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.
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.
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.
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.
Living in a small town thirty miles east of San Francisco, Suse Hansen is a young woman reconciling her growing knowledge of human nature with the horrors of the news reports she follows. The superbly written coming-of-age story shows the effects of the war on the American homefront.
This is the story of a young woman caught in radioactive “black rain” immediately following the bombing of Hiroshima, which led to periodic bouts of sickness and worry that her future children will also be affected.
When a Communist guerrilla leader and an American soldier are partnered on a dangerous mission behind enemy lines to fight the Japanese, they form an unlikely friendship. As the war ends, their bond is tested when America takes sides in the Nationalist-Communist civil war.
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.
OBASAN tells the lesser-known story of the Japanese-Canadians who were forced into internment camps during the war. Told as flashbacks, this novel chronicles internment through the eyes of a child.
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.