Wednesday, 6 August 2014

Review: My Beautiful Enemy by Cory Taylor

I was blinded by his beauty. In the one or two photographs I’ve kept of him I can still see it. He stares out of them almost miserably, as if his loveliness is an affliction. Not that I saw it that way, at least not in the beginning. In the beginning I thought it was a kind of miracle.

Arthur Wheeler is haunted by his infatuation with a Japanese youth he encountered in the enemy alien camp where he worked as a guard during WW2. Abandoning his wife and baby son, Arthur sets out on a doomed mission to rescue his lover from forced deportation back to Japan, a country in ruins.

Thus begins the secret history of a soldier at war with his own sexuality and dangerously at odds with the racism that underpins the crumbling British Empire.

Four decades later Arthur is still obsessed with the traumatic events of his youth. He proposes a last reunion with his lost lover, in the hope of laying his ghosts to rest, but this mission too seems doomed to failure.

Like Merry Christmas Mr Lawrence and Snow Falling On Cedars, My Beautiful Enemy explores questions of desire and redemption against the background of a savage racial war. In this context, Arthur’s private battles against his own nature, and against the conventions of his time, can only end in heartache.

Paperback, 272 pages
Published April 24th 2013 by Text Publishing
Terri's Thoughts

I received an advanced copy of this book via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.  Although it showed that the book was to be released on August 5th, Goodreads says otherwise so I believe that this is a re-release.

I am having a difficult time figuring out how I really felt about this story.  In one sense it was moving and on the other it was annoying.

I will start with the positive.  This is truly a story about a young man's struggle with his sexuality and the conflicts of his journey as a result.  In one sense a love story but with more focus on Arthur trying to come to terms with his feelings.  Particularly during the time in which this story takes place at the end of WWII this was not an easy time to embrace anything outside of a conventional relationship.

Where I felt the story lost it's impact is that Arthur was not at all likable.  Without giving away any of the plot I found that he was insecure (understandable) but also a liar and had no real regard for others.  I also found his obsession with Stanley to be completely one sided and therefore was unable to sense any type of connection to him.  He did many things in his journey that I deem unforgivable and I didn't feel it necessarily was connected to his struggles with his sexuality.

Overall this was an interesting story however I do not think I will be recommending it.  Although I can't pinpoint exactly what it was it simply lacked something for me.

About the Author

I could not find any information

1 comment:

  1. It really is hard to like a book if the main character is so unlikeable. Great review!

    -Kimi at Geeky Chiquitas