|Emperor of any place|
Author: Wynne-Jones, Tim
When Evan's father dies suddenly, Evan finds a hand-bound yellow book on his desk--a book his dad had been reading when he passed away. The book is the diary of a Japanese soldier stranded on a small Pacific island in WWII. Why was his father reading it? What is in this account that Evan's grandfather, whom Evan has never met before, fears so much that he will do anything to prevent its being seen? And what could this possibly mean for Evan?
Download a Teacher's Guide
|Accelerated Reader Information:|
Interest Level: UG
Reading Level: 5.20
Points: 14.0 Quiz: 177046
|Reading Counts Information:|
Interest Level: 9-12
Reading Level: 6.20
Points: 17.0 Quiz: 67237
School Library Journal (+) (00/10/15)
Booklist (+) (09/15/15)
The Bulletin of the Center for Children's Books (+) (00/11/15)
Full Text Reviews:
Booklist - 09/15/2015 *Starred Review* Two weeks after finding his father dead with his head resting on a sand-colored book, Evan is still numbed by his loss when three things happen: He receives a puzzling phone call about the book. He begins the strange journey of reading it. And Griff, the grandfather he has never met, arrives unexpectedly early to help settle his father’s affairs and take measure of his estranged son’s son. Reading the mysterious book in secret, Evan finds the interwoven first-person accounts of two soldiers, one Japanese, the other American, stranded on a small Pacific island during WWII and encountering “monsters, ghostly children, eaters of the dead,” as well as experiencing pain, privation, and loss. In this well-structured and beautifully written novel, the historical narrative alternates with chapters of Evan’s present-day story, in which he unravels the mystery of Griff’s involvement as a young marine with events on the island, and, simultaneously, takes his own measure of his grandfather. Wynne-Jones writes with a sure hand and a willingness to take readers into uncharted territory. The main characters in both time periods are complex and vividly portrayed, while the stories, both supernatural and realistic, quietly take note of nuances that standard narratives overlook. A riveting, remarkable novel by a reliably great Canadian writer. - Copyright 2015 Booklist.
School Library Journal - 10/01/2015 Gr 9 Up—An ambitious treatise on grief, war, memory, and the bonds between fathers and sons. Evan is 16 when his beloved father dies suddenly at home. Evan has no other family, so his estranged grandfather, Griff, whom he has never met, flies in to help him settle the affairs. The source of the family schism was the Vietnam War, when Evan's hippie father moved to Canada to dodge the draft, infuriating his father, a lifelong Marine. While going through his father's belongings, Evan happens upon a Japanese diary detailing a marooned soldier's account during World War II, a book that he knows he must keep from his grandfather at all costs. The narrative contained in this secret book unfolds throughout the course of the novel as readers meet Lance Corporal Isamu Oshiro of the Imperial Japanese Army through his own words and learn how his story ended up in the hands of Evan's father. This work is at its best when it is mired in death—seen in Oshiro's self-appointed job as island undertaker, as well as in Griff's stoic refusal to discuss his son's death—and Wynne-Jones is spot-on in his writing on grief, especially from Evan's point of view. The book-within-a-book plot is less successful, as Oshiro's account is a bit lengthy, and the suspense of Griff's involvement ends quickly and conveniently, without much satisfaction for readers. However, the high points of this tale make it worth a first purchase. VERDICT Offering a unique take on the World War II period, this intergenerational tale is an excellent addition to most YA collections.—Susannah Goldstein, Convent of the Sacred Heart, New York City - Copyright 2015 Publishers Weekly, Library Journal and/or School Library Journal used with permission.