How We Disappeared
by Jing-Jing Lee
Pub Date 02 May 2019
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A beautiful, stunningly ambitious novel set in Singapore about a woman who survived the Japanese occupation and a man who thought he had lost everything. For fans of Min Jin Lee's Pachinko and Georgia Hunter’s We Were the Lucky Ones.
Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.
In a neighbouring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is bundled into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery. After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced there still haunts her present.
In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is determined to find out the truth – wherever it might lead – after his grandmother makes a surprising confession on her deathbed, one she never meant Kevin to hear, setting in motion a chain of events he could never have foreseen.
Weaving together two timelines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. A profoundly moving novel, it is based partly on the author's great-grandfather’s experiences.
‘This is a brilliant, heart-breaking story with an unforgettable image of how women were silenced and disappeared by both war and culture.’ Xinran, author of The Good Women of China
‘A heartbreaking story told with such humanity and grace. The details of How We Disappeared are so vivid they return to me in dreams.’ Marti Leimbach, author of Dying Young and Daniel Isn't Talking
'A shattering, tender and absorbing novel that centres around the unfathomable cruelty that women in Singapore endured…Meticulously researched, exquisitely written.. I’m reeling from its power—what an absolute triumph.' Fiona Mitchell, author of The Maid’s Room