The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Family's War-Time Courage

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9780099445531: The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Family's War-Time Courage

"Why didn't you try to escape?" That was all she said. I had imagined my grandmother telling us how lovely it was to see us at last. I saw again in my mind's eye the barbed wire fences and the soldiers with the glistening bayonets, and felt once more that excruciating fear in the pit of my stomach. Try to escape? Lots of people had tried to escape. When the Japanese invaded the beautiful Indonesian island of Java during the Second World War Clara Kelly was four years old. Her family was separated, her father sent to work on the Burma railway, and she together with her mother and her two brothers, one a six-week-old baby, was sent to a 'women's camp'. They were interned there until the end of the war. Clara's descriptions of the appalling deprivations and impersonal brutality of the camp, easily recognisable as the same techniques used in the infamously cruel Japanes prisoner of war camps - standing in the baking heat for hours of 'Tenko' role-call, living on one cup of rice a day - are countered by the courage and resilience shown by all the internees, most poignantly her own mother.

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From the Inside Flap:

? The Flamboya Tree is a fascinating story that will leave the reader informed about a missing piece of the World War II experience, and in awe of one family?s survival.?
?Elizabeth M. Norman, author of We Band of Angels: The Untold Story of American Nurses Trapped on Bataan by the Japanese


?It is a well-known fact that war, any war, is senseless and degrading. When innocent people are brought into that war because they happen to be in the wrong place at the wrong time, it becomes incomprehensible. Java, 1942, was such a place and time, and we were those innocent people.?

Fifty years after the end of World War II, Clara Olink Kelly sat down to write a memoir that is both a fierce and enduring testament to a mother?s courage and a poignant record of an often overlooked chapter of the war.

As the fighting in the Pacific spread, four-year-old Clara Olink and her family found their tranquil, pampered lives on the beautiful island of Java torn apart by the invasion of Japanese troops. Clara?s father was taken away, forced to work on the Burma railroad. For Clara, her mother, and her two brothers, the younger one only six weeks old, an insistent knock on the door ended all hope of escaping internment in a concentration camp. For nearly four years, they endured starvation, filth-ridden living conditions, sickness, and the danger of violence from their prison guards. Clara credits her mother with their survival: Even in the most perilous of situations, Clara?s mother never compromised her beliefs, never admitted defeat, and never lost her courage. Her resilience sustained her three children through their frightening years in the camp.

Told through the eyes of a young Clara, who was eight at the end of her family?s ordeal, The Flamboya Tree portrays her mother?s tenacity, the power of hope and humor, and the buoyancy of a child?s spirit. A painting of a flamboya tree?a treasured possession of the family?s former life?miraculously survived the surprise searches by the often brutal Japanese soldiers and every last-minute flight. Just as her mother carried this painting through the years of imprisonment and the life that followed, so Clara carries her mother?s unvanquished spirit through all of her experiences and into the reader?s heart.


From the Hardcover edition.

From the Back Cover:

Advance praise for
The Flamboya Tree

“The Flamboya Tree is that rare treasure—a memoir so powerful and
vivid that it draws the past into the present and
makes us all history’s creatures.”
—Amanda Foreman, author of Georgiana, Duchess of Devonshire

“Sometimes the history of war hides its best stories, its fine,
quiet stories. The Flamboya Tree is such a story, with some kinship to Nicholas Gage’s Eleni, and, in the same extraordinary way,
is about the triumph of love and compassion and decency.”
—Alan Furst, author of Kingdom of Shadows

“Surefooted and bighearted, Kelly’s narrative offers testimony to
the sustaining power of dignity and courage in the face of
impossible circumstance.”
—Beth Kephart, author of A Slant of Sun

“As Clara Kelly honors her mother’s memory, we are reminded that
not all the heroes of World War II faced the bullets of the battlefield.”
—James Bradley, author of Flags of Our Fathers

“The Flamboya Tree is like a bright jewel found in the dust of
fading history. I was bowled over by this book.”
—Carolyn See, author of The Handyman

“Simply told, deeply felt, Kelly’s The Flamboya Tree shows us
that adversity can transform our lives into courageous,
life-affirming works of art.”
—Gwyn Hyman Rubio, author of Icy Sparks

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 214 x 149 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Why didn t you try to escape? That was all she said. I had imagined my grandmother telling us how lovely it was to see us at last. I saw again in my mind s eye the barbed wire fences and the soldiers with the glistening bayonets, and felt once more that excruciating fear in the pit of my stomach. Try to escape? Lots of people had tried to escape. When the Japanese invaded the beautiful Indonesian island of Java during the Second World War Clara Kelly was four years old. Her family was separated, her father sent to work on the Burma railway, and she together with her mother and her two brothers, one a six-week-old baby, was sent to a women s camp . They were interned there until the end of the war. Clara s descriptions of the appalling deprivations and impersonal brutality of the camp, easily recognisable as the same techniques used in the infamously cruel Japanes prisoner of war camps - standing in the baking heat for hours of Tenko role-call, living on one cup of rice a day - are countered by the courage and resilience shown by all the internees, most poignantly her own mother. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099445531

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Book Description Cornerstone, United Kingdom, 2003. Paperback. Book Condition: New. 214 x 149 mm. Language: English . Brand New Book. Why didn t you try to escape? That was all she said. I had imagined my grandmother telling us how lovely it was to see us at last. I saw again in my mind s eye the barbed wire fences and the soldiers with the glistening bayonets, and felt once more that excruciating fear in the pit of my stomach. Try to escape? Lots of people had tried to escape. When the Japanese invaded the beautiful Indonesian island of Java during the Second World War Clara Kelly was four years old. Her family was separated, her father sent to work on the Burma railway, and she together with her mother and her two brothers, one a six-week-old baby, was sent to a women s camp . They were interned there until the end of the war. Clara s descriptions of the appalling deprivations and impersonal brutality of the camp, easily recognisable as the same techniques used in the infamously cruel Japanes prisoner of war camps - standing in the baking heat for hours of Tenko role-call, living on one cup of rice a day - are countered by the courage and resilience shown by all the internees, most poignantly her own mother. Bookseller Inventory # AAZ9780099445531

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Book Description Cornerstone. Book Condition: New. 2003. Paperback. When the Japanese invaded Java during World War II, four-year-old Clara Kelly was sent to a women's camp with her mother and two young brothers. Her descriptions of the appalling conditions are countered by the resilience and courage of the internees. Num Pages: 304 pages, b&w illustrations. BIC Classification: 1FMN; 3JJH; BGA; HBJM; HBWQ; JWXR. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 132 x 19. Weight in Grams: 244. . . . . . Books ship from the US and Ireland. Bookseller Inventory # V9780099445531

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Book Description Cornerstone, 2003. Book Condition: New. 2003. Paperback. When the Japanese invaded Java during World War II, four-year-old Clara Kelly was sent to a women's camp with her mother and two young brothers. Her descriptions of the appalling conditions are countered by the resilience and courage of the internees. Num Pages: 304 pages, b&w illustrations. BIC Classification: 1FMN; 3JJH; BGA; HBJM; HBWQ; JWXR. Category: (G) General (US: Trade). Dimension: 196 x 132 x 19. Weight in Grams: 244. . . . . . . Bookseller Inventory # V9780099445531

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Book Description Cornerstone. Paperback. Book Condition: new. BRAND NEW, The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Family's War-Time Courage, Clara Olink Kelly, "Why didn't you try to escape?" That was all she said. I had imagined my grandmother telling us how lovely it was to see us at last. I saw again in my mind's eye the barbed wire fences and the soldiers with the glistening bayonets, and felt once more that excruciating fear in the pit of my stomach. Try to escape? Lots of people had tried to escape. When the Japanese invaded the beautiful Indonesian island of Java during the Second World War Clara Kelly was four years old. Her family was separated, her father sent to work on the Burma railway, and she together with her mother and her two brothers, one a six-week-old baby, was sent to a 'women's camp'. They were interned there until the end of the war. Clara's descriptions of the appalling deprivations and impersonal brutality of the camp, easily recognisable as the same techniques used in the infamously cruel Japanes prisoner of war camps - standing in the baking heat for hours of 'Tenko' role-call, living on one cup of rice a day - are countered by the courage and resilience shown by all the internees, most poignantly her own mother. Bookseller Inventory # B9780099445531

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