Chapter Books Garry Disher The Divine Wind

ISBN 13: 9780439369169

The Divine Wind

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9780439369169: The Divine Wind

Like "Snow Falling on Cedars," a beautifully written and deeply moving love story set against the racial tensions of a small Australian pearl-diving town on the eve of World War II.

On the eve of WWII, suspicion runs rampant in Hartley Penrose's small town. Even though they've done nothing wrong, the town is turning against its native Japanese residents - including Mitsy Sennosuke, the girl Hart loves despite himself. The result is a wrenching, unforgettable story of romance, betrayal, and the turmoils that rock both the world and the heart.

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About the Author:

Garry Disher grew up on a wheat and wool farm in South Australia. After gaining graduate and post-graduate degrees from universites in Adelaide and Melbourne, Garry travelled extensively. He has lived, worked and travelled in England, Italy, Israel and southern Africa. He has published over thirty books, including short stories, literary novels, crime thrillers, anthologies and award-winning children's titles.

Review:

Set in a small northwest Australian coastal town, this WWII story is about friends and enemies close to home. It's also about love and family heartaches and discovering personal courage and betrayal. After the war, Hartley Penrose tells his story, looking back to 1938 when he was 16, and he and his sister, Alice, were best friends with Mitsi Sennosuke, who was born of Japanese Parents and raised in Australia. With a big cast and an action-filled plot, Disher creates a vital, physical sense of the place as well as the secrets of the community. Even before the war, the official and personal racism is clear, toward "Japs" and also toward Aborigines, who are looked on as black "impurities" in the way of the white immigrant settlers. The characters are drawn without sentimentality. Mitsi is angry as well as loving; submissive at home, raucous with her friends. For a brief, rapturous period, Hartley and Mitsi are lovers, but then he's torn between loyalties. Readers will recognize the political parallels with the U.S., as well as the personal truth of how feelings can change from friendship and love to hate and indifference--and maybe back again.--Booklist, April 15th 2002, starred review
Winner of a young adult literature prize in Australia, this novel tackles mature themes of love and prejudice against the backdrop of World War II. Its circular structure begins and ends in 1946 as Hart is waiting for Mitsy, the young Japanese-Australian woman he loves, to return to him following the war. As he backtracks and describes their life in the small coastal town of Broome on the eve of and during the early years of the war, readers grow to understand how complicated Hart's life is. Mitsy is his sister's best friend and the daughter of one of his pearling-master father's divers; despite the ups and downs in their relationship, her family remains closely connected to his even as they experience loss, racism, and internment. Notable for its vivid sense of place, its complex characters, and an abundance of action, this book will be most appreciated by readers familiar with history, who will notice the many similarities between the way that some people in the United States and Australia thought of and treated their native peoples, and in the treatment of the Japanese during the war.--School Library Journal
Winner of a New South Wales Premier's Literary Award in 1999, this novel takes place in Broome, Australia, in the years just prior to and during World War II. Characterization is strong, centering on Hart, his sister Alice, and her best friend, Mitsy, a girl of Japanese ethnicity. Hart harbors a love for Mitsy, but because of strong racial divisions, he keeps his feelings silent. The three friends grow up together. While both Alice and Mitsy train as nurses, Hart works in his father's pearl boat. When Hart is disabled in a boat accident, Mitsy nurses him back to health. The war makes the Japanese targets of resentment in Broome, and Mitsy and her mother are evicted from their home. Hart's father brings Mitsy and her mother into his home, where Hart and Mitsy engage in a passionate affair. The story ends with Hart waiting for Mitsy's return after she and her mother are sent to an internment camp. Told as a personal memoir, the story is narrated by Hart. Although filled with family conflict and tragic events, the story is riveting and brims with images that evoke the flavor of the country and the time. The book highlights the perils of racial discrimination and portrays a bittersweet love. It will take mature readers to understand the complex relationships between the characters. Although readers might stumble over some of the Aussie phrases and unfamiliar culture, they will finish the story with a better understanding of the depths of love.--Voice of Youth Advocates, August 2002

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