Adult Fiction--Trobaugh to Turtledove
Trobaugh, Augusta. Sophie and the Rising Sun (Penguin Group, 2002).
Salty Creek is a sleepy Georgia town where everyone knows everyone else's business, along with their place in the hierarchy of color, class, and family history. Strangers rarely enter their midst, and a mysterious arrival in the spring of 1939 soon sets tongues wagging. A quiet, unassuming man with a secret history of his own, Mr. Oto is taken in as a gardener by Miss Anne, the town's conscience-and it's heart-with no illusions about Salty Creek or its inhabitants. One of these is Sophie, who lost her love during World War I and has resigned herself to a passionless existence taking care of her mother and maiden aunts. Then one day, she and Mr. Oto speak for the first time. To Mr. Oto, whose heart has been full from the moment he saw Sophie, it is one of life's miracles-when they finally break the silence of "the beauty of words unspoken."
When the Japanese bomb Pearl Harbor and Mr. Oto's newfound life comes under siege, it is Miss Anne who once again comes to his rescue in an act of uncommon courage and sacrifice. As for Sophie, who has fallen in love with Mr. Oto, she must decide how much she is willing to risk for a future with this man who has brought such joy into her life.
Trumbo, Dalton. Night of the Aurochs (New York: Viking, 1979).
Night of the Aurochs is the story of Grieben, a Nazi in WWII who was Commandant of Auschwitz and who believed in the Fascist cause.
Tsukiyama, Gail. The Street of a Thousand Blossoms (St. Martin’s Press, 2007).
It is Tokyo in 1939. On the Street of a Thousand Blossoms, two orphaned brothers are growing up with their loving grandparents, who inspire them to dream of a future firmly rooted in tradition. The older boy, Hiroshi, shows unusual skill at the national obsession of sumo wrestling, while Kenji is fascinated by the art of creating hard-carved masks for actors in the Noh theater.
Across town, a renowned sumo master, Sho Tanaka, lives with his wife and their two young daughters: the delicate, daydreaming Aki and her independent sister, Haru. Life seems full of promise as Kenji begins an informal apprenticeship with the most famous mask-maker in Japan and Hiroshi receives a coveted invitation to train with Tanaka. But then Pearl Harbor changes everything. As the ripples of war spread to both families’ quiet neighborhoods, all of the generations must put their dreams on hold---and then find their way in a new Japan. In an exquisitely moving story that spans almost thirty years, Gail Tsukiyama draws us irresistibly into the world of the brothers and the women who love them. It is a world of tradition and change, of heartbreaking loss and surprising hope, and of the impact of events beyond their control on ordinary, decent men and women. Above all, The Street of a Thousand Blossoms is a masterpiece about love and family from a glorious storyteller at the height of her powers.
Turow, Scott. Ordinary Heroes (Grand Central Publishing, 2006).
Stewart Dubinsky knew his father had served in World War II. And he'd been told how David Dubin (as his father had Americanized the name that Stewart later reclaimed) had rescued Stewart's mother from the horror of the Balingen concentration camp. But when he discovers, after his father's death, a packet of wartime letters to a former fiancée, and learns of his father's court-martial and imprisonment, he is plunged into the mystery of his family's secret history and driven to uncover the truth about this enigmatic, distant man who'd always refused to talk about his war.
As he pieces together his father's past through military archives, letters, and, finally, notes from a memoir his father wrote while in prison, secretly preserved by the officer who defended him, Stewart starts to assemble a dramatic and baffling chain of events. He learns how Dubin, a JAG lawyer attached to Patton's Third Army and desperate for combat experience, got more than he bargained for when he was ordered to arrest Robert Martin, a wayward OSS officer who, despite his spectacular bravery with the French Resistance, appeared to be acting on orders other than his commanders'. In pursuit of Martin, Dubin and his sergeant are parachuted into Bastogne just as the Battle of the Bulge reaches its apex. Pressed into the leadership of a desperately depleted rifle company, the men are forced to abandon their quest for Martin and his fiery, maddeningly elusive comrade, Gita, as they fight for their lives through carnage and chaos, the likes of which Dubin could never have imagined.
Turtledove, Harry. Drive to the East (Del Ray, 2006).
In 1914, the First World War ignited a brutal conflict in North America, with the United States finally defeating the Confederate States. In 1917, The Great War ended and an era of simmering hatred began, fueled by the despotism of a few and the sacrifice of many. Now it’s 1942. The USA and CSA are locked in a tangle of jagged, blood-soaked battle lines, modern weaponry, desperate strategies, and the kind of violence that only the damned could conjure up–for their enemies and themselves.
In Richmond, Confederate president and dictator Jake Featherston is shocked by what his own aircraft have done in Philadelphia–killing U.S. president Al Smith in a barrage of bombs. Featherston presses ahead with a secret plan carried out on the dusty plains of Texas, where a so-called detention camp hides a far more evil purpose. As the untested U.S. vice president takes over for Smith, the United States face a furious thrust by the Confederate army, pressing inexorably into Pennsylvania. But with the industrial heartland under siege, Canada in revolt, and U.S. naval ships fighting against the Japanese in the Sandwich Islands, the most dangerous place in the world may be overlooked.
Turtledove, Harry. End of the Beginning (Roc, 2006).
The human price of war, regardless of nationality, is the relentless focus of this chilling sequel to Turtledove's alternative history Days of Infamy, in which the Japanese conquer Hawaii after the attack on Pearl Harbor. Times are hard for Americans under the occupation. Scarce food and resources result in privation and a thriving black market. Japanese soldiers work POWs to death with heavy labor on insufficient rations. Women are forced into prostitution as comfort women. But the U.S. armed forces have a few tricks up their sleeve, notably a new kind of aircraft that can hold its own against the Zero. Both the Japanese and American militaries scheme, plan and train, while surfer bums, POWs and fishermen just try to get by. A plethora of characters, each with his or her own point of view, provide experiences in miniature that combine to paint a broad canvas of the titanic struggle, if at the cost of a fragmented narrative.
Turtledove, Harry. Day of Infamy (Roc, 2005).
On December 7, 1941, the Japanese launched an attack against United States naval forces stationed in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. But what if the Japanese followed up their air assault with an invasion and occupation of Hawaii? With American military forces subjugated and civilians living in fear of their conquerors, there is no one to stop the Japanese from using the islands' resources to launch an offensive against America's western coast.