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SHANGHAI 1943 - BATTERED, BRUISED YET RESILIENT

Rising Sun, Falling Shadow (Shanghai Series) - Daniel Kalla

"Rising Sun, Falling Shadows" takes up from where 'The Far Side of the Sky' left off. It is January 1943. Shanghai and its inhabitants, firmly in Japan's vise-like grip, continue to struggle against the brutality and savagery of a war that seemingly has no end. Both the city's Jewish refugees and Allied civilians become subject to greater scrutiny on the part of the Japanese. The former group, by order of the military governor of Shanghai, is compelled to sell their homes and personal belongings by May 18th and are relocated into "a narrow area within Hongkew, one of the most crowded boroughs in the city." This is exactly what a small contingent of Nazis residing in the German section of Shanghai desire. For having been frustrated the previous year --- by their Japanese allies --- in their efforts to have Shanghai's Jews exterminated, the Germans (as represented by Von Puttkamer, who on the surface comes across as suave, urbane and a fellow-well-met, yet underneath it all, is a rabid Nazi) become fixated on destroying the Jewish 'ghetto' in Shanghai with/without the sanction of the Japanese authorities. As for the latter group (i.e., Allied civilians), they are forced by the Japanese to live in an internment camp under their direct control.

All the while, Soon Yi (better known as "Sunny") and her beloved husband Franz Adler are hard pressed to keep the Jewish hospital open in which they both work as physicians. Furthermore, the Adler Family and many of their close friends and associates in Shanghai find themselves throughout 1943 under threat from several quarters. The drama and tension are so skillfully rendered by the author that I soon found myself thoroughly immersed in the lives of the main characters. Indeed, “Rising Sun, Falling Shadows” is a story that the general reader will find him/herself deeply immersed in its flow, intensity, and the reality it conveys of a wartime city that has been scarred and battered almost beyond recognition. (VERY HIGHLY RECOMMENDED.)