How We Disappeared
by Jing-Jing Lee
Pub Date 07 May 2019
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A mesmerizing novel of World War II Singapore, “a story about memory, trauma, and ultimately love” (New York Times)—for fans of Pachinko and We Were the Lucky Ones
Singapore, 1942. As Japanese troops sweep down Malaysia and into Singapore, a village is ransacked, leaving only two survivors and one tiny child.
In a neighboring village, seventeen-year-old Wang Di is strapped into the back of a troop carrier and shipped off to a Japanese military brothel where she is forced into sexual slavery as a “comfort woman.” After sixty years of silence, what she saw and experienced still haunts her.
In the year 2000, twelve-year-old Kevin is sitting beside his ailing grandmother when he overhears a mumbled confession. He sets out to discover the truth, wherever it might lead, setting in motion a chain of events he never could have foreseen.
Weaving together two time lines and two very big secrets, this stunning debut opens a window on a little-known period of history, revealing the strength and bravery shown by numerous women in the face of terrible cruelty. Drawing in part on her family’s experiences, Jing-Jing Lee has crafted a profoundly moving, unforgettable novel about human resilience, the bonds of family and the courage it takes to confront the past.
"A heartbreaking story told with such humanity and grace. The details of How We Disappeared are so vivid they return to me in dreams."—Marti Leimbach, bestselling author of Daniel Isn't Talking
“A shattering, tender and absorbing novel that centers around the unfathomable cruelty that women in Singapore endured…Meticulously researched, exquisitely written…. I’m reeling from its power—what an absolute triumph.”—Fiona Mitchell, author of The Maid’s Room
“How We Disappeared is an exquisite mystery, an enthralling novel. Equally touching and intriguing, How We Disappeared is a soaring debut of surviving the unsurvivable in a time when human life was worth less than the bullets and bombs used to end it. A searing and shocking reminder of a history many would like to forget, and of the endurance of the human spirit.”—Eoin Dempsey, author of White Rose, Black Forest