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Start your review of Rey De Las Ratas Write a review Shelves: own-a-copy , japan , reviewed , friends-of-my-youth , , i-saw-the-movie-too Changi was set like a pearl on the eastern tip of Singapore Island, iridescent under the bowl of tropical skies.
It stood on a slight rise and around it was a belt of green, and farther off the green gave way to the blue-green seas and the seas to infinity of horizon. This beautiful opening line is like a promise of fantastic adventure, exotic trip, it evokes some delightful place, a mystery island you always dreamt about but it is anything but it. Changi was the inhuman Japanese camp for the Changi was set like a pearl on the eastern tip of Singapore Island, iridescent under the bowl of tropical skies.
I had read some camp stories already but mostly European, and though my knowledge of the war on the Pacific is only basic this one felt very reliable to me. And is pretty damn well written. The two main characters of the novel are the men representing totally different approach to life: pragmatic and smart, self-made American named the King and Peter Marlowe, somewhat uptight English guy, well-educated and brought up in the family with military traditions.
Both in readers and other prisoners the King arouses mixed feelings. Disgust, sympathy, antipathy, open hostility and then again admiration. He just has a flair for organizing his life easier and seize any opportunity to gain some money and money will give him the rest. The food, medicaments, cigarettes and something less tangible: sense of power. King Rat is a clash of personalities, a display of cynicism, lack of scruples and ability to adjust to any situation in the camp. But also an extraordinary courage, solidarity and commitment.
There is no easy explicitness here, no distinct line between that what you can accept and not feel irretrievably corrupted. It teaches you that to outlast the camp, like on the outside in fact, you need to be a part at least a small group, that the camp is not a place for a lone wolf. I liked the dynamics between them, the way their relationship developed, what they went through and lessons they learnt from themselves. And if someone prefers more concise review, please, here it is.
Of rats and men.
Rey de las ratas
Rey de las ratas de James Clavell
Rey De Las Ratas