Friday, May 19, 2017

Review of "Nanjing Never Cries - A Novel," by Professor Hong Zheng

Novelist Hong Zheng is a professor at MIT working in the field of dark matter. In this gripping novel, he shines a light on the dark matter of the Sino-Japanese War that raged between 1937-1945. This is a slice of history about which I knew little. This story, "Nanjing Never Cries - A Novel," served to make me aware of the depth of the animus that still simmers beneath the surface of Chinese and Japanese relationships.

The action of the story is set in Nanjing, China before and during the Japanese invasion and subsequent occupation of China - an event called "a forgotten holocaust." Untold atrocities were committed by the Japanese. In this story, MIT classmates John Winthrop and Calvin Ren, a brilliant Chinese physicist, have reunited to work on helping the Chinese to develop a warplane that would allow China to defend itself against the relentless Japanese onslaught.

This historical novel follows John as he falls in love with May, Their love and lives are forever impacted by the Japanese occupation. The action toggles back and forth between intimate personal struggles and larger geopolitical intrigues under General Chiang Kai-Shek.

I am thankful that Professor Zheng has drilled deeply into his memory of that painful period to tell a story that needs to be read and understood as a cautionary tale.



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