Editorial Reviews. From Publishers Weekly. Starred Review. This remarkable debut saga of The Gift of Rain: A Novel - Kindle edition by Tan Twan Eng. Download it once and read it on Kindle Store · Kindle eBooks · Literature & Fiction. THE RAIN OF WISDOM THE RAIN OF WISDOM nlE ESSENCE OF nlE OCEAN OF 11\UE MEANING Stinging che RaJn of Wisdom Tht' Spo. Read "The Gift of Rain A Novel" by Tan Twan Eng available from Rakuten Kobo. Sign up today and get $5 off your first purchase. The recipient of extraordinary.
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'The Gift of Rain is a riveting book about loyalty, honour and courage. It asks: How does an individual make BUY EBOOK High-res cover: Download Image . (ebook) The Gift of Rain from Dymocks online store. Penang, Sixteen-year- old For immediate download. Booklovers earn $ in. The Gift of Rain captivating images, sounds and aromas – of rain swept beaches, magical mountain temples, Ebook,
The novel is set in Penang. It concerns Philip Hutton, of mixed Chinese-English heritage, and his relationship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat who teaches him aikido. As war looms and the Japanese invade, both Endo and Philip find themselves torn between their loyalty to each other, versus loyalty to their country and family, respectively. Philip decides to assist the Japanese and Endo in administering the country in an attempt to keep his family safe, but wherever possible, he passes intelligence to the guerrilla fighters of Force ,  which include his best friend Kon. From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. This article needs additional citations for verification.
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Ardent , thank you sooo much!! Even though I am sorely tempted to label The Gift of Rain as a testimony to the greater human predicament during turbulent times, that goes beyond the petty divides of ethnicity, skin color and culture, I will not succumb to that lure. Philip Hutton maybe perceived as a cliched symbol of a stabilizing influence on all conflicting elements of life or he may even be just a reminder of that elusive voice of reason which we often proceed to stifle with brutal force at a time we need it the most.
But I will not seek to trivialize his fictitious life in this cold analytical manner. Instead, I choose to be a random listener who came across the extraordinary story of his courage and withhold judgement.
I choose to dignify his existence by not questioning his deeds, his associations, his choices or his existential dilemmas. I choose to empathize with Malay and China, both of which were tormented and ripped apart by another nation nurturing a blind Imperialist zest. But then I also choose to empathize with the aggressor Japan, which didn't escape suffering inflicted by the War either.
I choose not to vilify Philip for fraternizing with the foe and I choose not to indict Endo san for his treachery. And by doing neither, I choose to side with humanity. Because as much as it will be easier to pigeonhole wartime human barbarity into convenient labels like repercussions of ruthless nationalist ambitions and pass the buck on responsibility, the lasting truth of the matter is the all-encompassing nature of our collective ordeals through time and space.
In the end, it doesn't matter who or what caused our suffering. It matters that we suffered. Review originally posted on: View all 32 comments. Oct 08, Kalliope rated it really liked it Shelves: SE Asia is one of my favorite areas in the world. Whenever it is mentioned, memories from my visits and from having lived there are immediately summoned back in my mind. Memories of books, which I hold responsible for first igniting my imagination and fascination with the place, inevitably also spring back.
Looking around I finally found my first Casuarina tree next to the entrance to the Sarawak Museum. I took a picture and I keep it as a book marker in my copy of the book. This introduction is to make you aware of the anticipation with which I began to read this work.
And now, with all this agitated expectation, what was my opinion of The Gift of Rain? The book is very ambitious in its complex setting, scope and lush writing.
As a first book by the young writer Tan Twan Eng, it has been well received. It made it into the long list for the Booker Prize in It also set its author in the right path, since his second and latest novel, The Garden of Evening Mists , was short listed for this same prize this year. The novel presents the tragic demise of a British family, which had established itself in the Penang island in the colony of Malaysia, and where it created an economic emporium. In a flash back manner, the youngest son and main character.
Philip Hutton is the youngest of the four Hutton children, but he is the only son of a second marriage when his widowed father Noel Hutton married a Chinese Lady. As the fruit of a mixed marriage, Philip is conscious of being the product of two cultures. But as he befriends a Japanese man who becomes his very much admired teacher of Aikido or sensei , he comes to represent not two but three cultures.
He stands at the Malaysian crux with its three occupants: Curiously, Malays do not seem to figure much in the book. The story will unfold as Philip moves from one culture or community to another, each time being both welcome and rejected, and either chooses or is led to play different roles.
So, choice or fate?. In this impassionate novel Mr. Tan strives to show us the collusion of two different understandings of fate, the Asian concept of circularity and the lineal understanding held by Western thought. What a goal for a first book! Apart from the exotic setting, the plot and the deeper musings, this book is also very pleasant to read because of its language.
Tan has a very delicate and sweetly evocative pen and some of his descriptions are beautiful and lyrical and call for a slow reading. But The Gift of Rain suffers a bit from its being a first book. Although written by an Asian author, it does taste of Western audiences. Some parts read somewhat like a Baedecker or a Vademecum of Asia.
So, we get a somewhat irritating explanation of what the Nyonya community is, or a somewhat irrelevant brief digest of the occupation of the Forbidden City with an acknowledged fictional episode included. As he has set himself to write about a period in which he was not yet born, Mr. One feels it is not experience talking. The latter would have been more shocking to someone living in the area at the time, but the Pearl Harbor bombing is more prominent in our current consciousness. May be that is the trend that current fiction is following.
We readers may be becoming lazy and we expect to be led by the hand and have everything explained to us. And last but not least, I found that not just before but also while reading this book, one could breathe the air of Western writers.
Conrad is a ghost not just for me but also probably for Mr. By planting a specimen in the Hutton gardens and making the tree the symbol of the Hutton family, Tan Twan Eng is also paying a direct homage to Somerset Maugham.
I could not object to this, but Maugham could evoke the exotic with less explicit exegesis. This leaves me with clarifying my rating. I think that because of its neophyte tint this is a three star book, but since the components are my pet subjects and as Mr Tan is clearly a promising author, the fourth star is awarded And to extend a bit of the Baedecker color to my review as well, here is the beautiful house of Cheong Fatt Tze , La Maison Bleu sic that is often mentioned as a way of guiding us to the place and times.
When I come across books such as this one, I'm blown away at the amount of people I know who choose not to read. I'm also blown away that a book like this doesn't get as much attention as the Twilight Saga. Twilight makes me want to throw-up on the mere thought of the book being the phenomenon that it is.
Books like The Gift of Rain put me in awe, and I think, even though atheist, I hope if there is a heaven, it's as good as this writing. I'm shocked that this was the author's first novel. This When I come across books such as this one, I'm blown away at the amount of people I know who choose not to read. This was an absolute work of art. An epic, in my opinion. The writing, the incredibly deep story, the characters and the development of the characters were astonishing. I hope this guy is living well off of this book—because he deserves it.
A wonderful, wonderful book. Yes, this book is heavy, and not for people who like soft, cuddly stories. Just a forewarning if you choose to read it in the future. View all 4 comments. Nov 25, Dolors rated it really liked it Recommends it for: Those who hear the rain sing.
The Gift of Rain
Philip Hutton is a rare bird with inimitable plumage, a bird that only sings with the sound of rain. Born to a Chinese mother, the second wife of a British magnate of a large trading company, rejected by his Chinese Grandfather and an outcast among his English pure breed half-siblings, Philip considers himself a mongre , Isle of Penang, Malay.
Born to a Chinese mother, the second wife of a British magnate of a large trading company, rejected by his Chinese Grandfather and an outcast among his English pure breed half-siblings, Philip considers himself a mongrel with no real sense of belonging.
Your life will be abundant with wealth and success. But life will test you greatly. Free will implies acting, actions carry consequences, consequences demand responsibility and any failure to meet this Westernized conception of morality results in corroding remorse. What is the right path to take? How can Philip come to terms with his fractured heritage and torn beliefs? How can he survive the unimaginable savagery of war and exorcise the ghosts of a past that rots his spirit and disseminates the role truth and duty played in his double-edged game of deception and condoned slaughter?
In the same way that fate and randomness are two sides of the same coin in the mysteries of existence, beauty and horror are two-way mirrors reflecting the conflicting nature of mankind. There is eternity in the hues of turquoise that waves merge with the pristine whiteness of velvety shores in a fluid motion and irreconcilable sadness in the corpse of a broken woman whose eyelids flicker with life ebbing away from her and whose spirit plummets down into the bloody mud with thwarted hope after witnessing the arbitrary murder of her innocent husband.
A place where even death emerges as the purest expression of love, redemption and compassion. And what is the heart's memory but love itself? View all 57 comments. Jun 12, Praj rated it really liked it Shelves: It has been exactly twelve days since the onset of monsoons. Not a single dry pair of clothes in the house and yet my enthusiasm is as jubilant as the freshly bathed leaves welcoming the cascading raindrops.
After all I had waited for an entire month, my eyes widening at every passing water-laden cloud. The grey skies had fooled me and my despair had found its mate in the curled vermillion petals of the Gulmohar tree. The descendant of the Fabaceae heritage has a bittersweet legacy with the rain It has been exactly twelve days since the onset of monsoons.
The descendant of the Fabaceae heritage has a bittersweet legacy with the rain. When the tree blooms to its fullest, the rain fiercely thunders to the surreal red carpet as if the flowers were waiting for their watery salvation only to be wash down in earthly oblivion, its memories lasting in the drenched emerald leaves.
The Gift of Rain
The cold rainwater running down my face, as I see these lithe petals tumbling into the water puddle, subtle currents sweeping them away in the nearby gutters, I tenderly bid adieu to my flowery companions that made me smile at the flamboyant display on many windy afternoons.
In a couple days all that will remain is a tree filled with dainty green leaves that will accompany me till winter and then once again make me anticipate its summer bloom. Gazing at the grey cloud hovering over the Gulmohar like a samurai equipped to slash the graceful flowers with every scrupulous stroke of clammy precipitation; I had an inkling of seeing Philip walk the treacherous path to find the fulfillment of his prophecy, the nirvana where love and memory soar like fireflies twinkling in the darkest night.
Who can look back and truly say all his memories are happy ones? To have memories, happy or sorrowful, is a blessing, for it shows we have lived our lives without reservation.
Do you not agree? The synchronized moves of a bokken balancing the symphony of the black and white garb, the dangers lurking on the edge of a katana , imparted the teachings of Zen to a bemused adolescent dangling between the aloofness of two alien worlds.
Along with its patrons , the art of harmonizing being victimized by the war of spirituality and patriotism. The evil appendages of a burgeoning war had crawled into the mysticism of the double-edge sword rebelling the harmonious notions of aikijutsu , the swordplay crossing the destined lines of comradeship and hostility ; of loyalty and betrayal.
The blissful memories of a fertile pre-war Penang gradually worn out like the eroded river-bed; the fading hopes and dreams interwoven with idealistic games of human courage and savagery and love being the stimulating harbinger of a harrowing universe. The tears of a forgotten Chinese Emperor whispered through the historical vestiges, its memories tightly locked within the opulence of a jade pin. The Japanese invasion of Malaya had shattered the conviction of a vibrant enriching nation disintegrating its body with blood-shed and excruciating crimes while ravaging it mind with an eternal burden of tortuous memories.
The war had long gone, the residual memories only to be found within a remaining few of its survivors, yet the whispers of a courageous nation along with his valiant people become louder with every emotional wave that brings the buried treacherous past ashore sketching the once forgotten footprints of an enduring love for family, country and the breathing humanity.
The sounds of nostalgia running through the dense forests of Malaya, the touch of tangled life prevailing in turbulent times and the whiff of traditions amalgamating into epigraphs of mystical destinies made it difficult from resisting oneself to be consumed by the astonishing images illustrated in this allegorical maze of a thriller. There were times when I was left with nothing but intervals of vacant emotions gazing at the placid tree tapping my balcony.
Storytelling, the steady stream of long-lost words liberates the burden of anguished memories buried deep within the core of survival. And, I found the release of my overpowering lunacy by scripting this appraisal; only to revive those sentiments the moment I shall open this book once again. Tan Twan Eng interlaces a commendable pattern of discovering poignant connections between strangers in the course of dream-like fated commonalities that cultivate into an everlasting union of humanity and approbation.
The encounter of Philip Khoo-Hutton with the mystifying Japanese diplomat — Hayato Endo seemed to be a sort of paranormal path that both of these individuals were destined to walk on. The teacher-student relationship moved further from the peripheral enlightenment of the aikijutsu , aikido and the three pillars of Japanese language, inching towards the grid of a mortal conflict where the highest level of jujitsu would burn within the societal taboos and segregation of Japanese incursions and the dominant racial dogmas, its ashes colouring the memories within the Nagamitsu sword.
The love of a parent disciplines the tender heart and the love of a teacher disciplines the very human existence — the mind. The lessons learned through the scholarly association of a student and a sensei carried the credibility of refined wisdom through the philosophical threads knotting the bonds between Tanaka-san and Kon; Noel Hutton and Philip; Grandfather Khoo and Philip and Michiko in later years. Every memorable experience irrespective to it sentimental scale carried the obligations of being a teacher to the anonymous sphere of naivety.
The land of Penang had become the most prudent educator of its time bestowing the proficient tutorial of absolute fidelity.
That love will find a way, no matter the obstacles. It tells us that love can transcend time and live on, long after you and I are gone. When the last martyr find its deserving grave , when the last puddle of blood is dried to its blackened tomb , the remnants of a war are vanished from the land , its memories now deeply buried in forlorn hearts that feebly hold onto the sufferings shackled by time.
The concepts of destiny and sovereignty reconciling within the ironies of life, its beauty skewered on the labyrinths of apologies and self-justification and in through the numerous consolation of the dead, there stands aloof on the bridge of burdensome memories the inviolability of love. The arid earth nestled in the muggy drizzle animates through the wet soil, the alluring fragrance lingering its admiration for the glistening raindrops.
The falling rain brings life into the inert earth only to conceal it several minutes later in a murky watery grave. Yet, the admiration for the ruthless rain prevails in the turbulent skies. Even though the rain brings melancholy and pain submerging the living in its vehemence, it cleans the filth, renews life and brings hope to infertile souls.
The irony of rain interweaves into the surreal enchantment of life, where the sadness of the lifeless vermillion Gulmohar flowers floating in a muddy puddle fades in the blossoming happiness as tadpoles emerge through the flowery bed taking their first leaps.
And, that is the crucial gift of rain. The shimmering blade of the Nagamitsu sword mirrors the conflict of love, family and country, the memory of warm blood and valiant allegiance within its steely interiors brings a plethora of perplexed emotions running through the lush harmony of Penang questioning the savagery of humankind and the conflict of mortal love. For in the end, when intoxicating butterflies soar from the frosty sepulchres, the genesis of abhorrence and treason become insignificant and all that matters is the credence of sufferings.
The inexplicable ambiguity of life juxtaposing incongruity and paranormal peculiarities beautifying the existing anguish of paradoxical truth ascends in the symptomatic prose of human valour and enduring devotion.
View all 47 comments. BLURB "Set in Penang, , this book presents a story of betrayal, barbaric cruelty, steadfast courage and enduring love. He discovers a sense of belonging in his unexpected friendship with Hayato Endo, a Japanese diplomat who rents a nearby island from his father. Philip proudly shows his new friend around his adored island of Penang, and in return Endo teaches him about Japanese language and culture and trains him in the art and discipline of aikido.
But such knowledge comes at a terrible price. As World War II rages in Europe, the Japanese savagely invade Malaya, and Philip realizes that his mentor and sensei - to whom he owes absolute loyalty - is a Japanese spy. Young Philip has been an unwitting traitor, and he is forced into collaborating with the Japanese to safeguard his family.
He becomes the ultimate outsider, trusted by none and hated by many. Tormented by his part in the events, Philip risks everything by working in secret to save as many people as he can from the brutality he has helped bring upon them. It never connected his emotions to his place in society. He never felt completely accepted in either his maternal Chinese community, nor his paternal British family. He was born, and lived, between two worlds in Penang, a multicultural Malaysian island off the Malay Peninsula in the Malacca Strait.
He was considered a half-breed that had no place anywhere. He never felt at home in the family he was born to. He found more solace in the unnameable openness of the sea, on the little beach on the island which belonged to his father. Michiko Murakami came into his life when both of them were in their early seventees, she a little older than him. Destiny predicted the moment, when he offered her tea, with the fragrance of the Lonely Tree. A rare tea which originated from her home village in Japan.
That is, where it was cultivated before WWII. The plantations were destroyed, with only small sections still in production. A rare tea to have indeed. There was a tale they had to share, she as listener, and he as the narrator. It was as though his satori was waiting all these years for this meeting with Michiko to happen.
Yes, it was destiny. She had come to find Endu-san's final resting place and to deliver a package. She needed Philip's memories to conclude her own life story. He stopped trusting people many years ago.
But it was Michiko who had to hear his story and he opened up in an instinctive knowledge that it was suppose to happen. As an old man he had to go back, more than fifty years ago when he, as a seventeen-year-old boy, met the Japanese man, Hayato Endo, who would teach Philip to touch heaven. Endu-san became his most important mentor, and the person who would change the rest of his life.
But that is your strength. Accept the fact that you are different, that you are of two worlds. And I wish you to remember this when you feel you cannot go on: So use it. Remember—the rain also brings the flood.
The young have hopes and dreams, while the old hold the remains of them in their hands and wonder what has happened to their lives.
Where his mind faltered, his heart took over to finally make sense of everything that has happened. After all, his body was old, and could not save him anymore from the life and memories he had to face on his own, for more than fifty years. Where did duty gone so terribly wrong? Be wary when duty speaks, for it often masks the voice of others. Others who do not have your interests at heart.
Philip needed someone to listen; to finally lead him to his satorial moment of closure. One starts giving away items and belongings until only the memories are left. In the end, what else do we really require?
(ebook) The Gift of Rain
A brilliant, informative, extensive reading experience. It is not a piece of history that I would ever want to experience in my life again. Like Philip Hutton and Michiko Murakami, once is enough. To understand his role and destiny, Philip Hutton had to take the reader through hundreds of years of history. It often felt like living through all those years, and not just reading it. It was a brutally honest experience. Truth is, it was such an emotional journey to finish this book. At times I really wanted to run away and hide, but I felt I would betray the characters if I did.
I just had to be there for them until the very end. View all 17 comments. Mar 15, Connie rated it it was amazing Shelves: Philip Hutton is remembering the tumultuous years in Malaysia around the time of World War II when he was a young man with divided loyalties. As a sixteen-year-old in , he was the son of a prosperous English father and a deceased Chinese mother who felt like he did not fit into either community. He met Hatato Endo, a Japanese diplomat who was renting an island from Philip's father.
Endo taught Philip the martial arts skills and mental discipline of aikido, as well as the Japanese language an Philip Hutton is remembering the tumultuous years in Malaysia around the time of World War II when he was a young man with divided loyalties. Endo taught Philip the martial arts skills and mental discipline of aikido, as well as the Japanese language and culture. He asked Philip to show him places of interest in Malaysia, always taking detailed pictures of the areas.
When the Japanese invaded Malaysia, Philip realized how Endo had used his knowledge, but he still felt a strong bond with his sensei. He remembered his Chinese grandfather's words: The war years showed Philip in many dangerous situations. But the core of the book is really his relationships with his best friend, Kon, and with the strong men who mentor and love him--his English father, his Chinese grandfather, and Japanese Endo. In war people are caught up in a vortex beyond their control as their governments make decisions they cannot change.
As an old man, Philip is visited by an elderly woman who loved Endo years ago in Japan. They share memories of Endo and the war years.
They wonder if their lives were destined by fate, or whether there is free will. Had Philip and Endo met in a previous life, and were the anguishing times in the war predetermined by fate? Had the dire predictions of the fortune teller at the snake temple come to reality? This is a fascinating book involving many cultures. The story brings up many questions as it explores the conflicting loyalties and the difficult decisions that both Philip and Endo must make.
Highly recommended. View all 14 comments. Five stars The first half of this book is quite chilled The second half I just couldn't put the book down and felt compelled to finish the book in one day.
Which I did and it was brilliant! Beautifully written an Five stars Beautifully written and very moving and rewarding to read. I just have to read his other books now. View all 20 comments. Apr 22, Algernon Darth Anyan rated it really liked it Shelves: The Gift of Rain is a memoir, the journal of a young boy's coming of age amid the turmoil of WWII in Malaya, a lest-we-forget memorial to the victims of war crimes, a melancholy blues sung to a disappearing world: I am fading away.
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