quinta-feira, 5 de setembro de 2013

Deep Night: espionagem e mistério

O romance "Deep Night" (Soho Pres, 2008) de Caroline Petit (norte-americana a residir na Austrália) transporta-nos para o período da Guerra do Pacífico em Macau. A história começa a 8 de Outubro de 1941 em Hong Kong, cerca de dois meses antes da invasão e ocupação japonesa. A autora baseou-se no espólio de Jack Braga (que está na Biblioteca Nacional da Austrália) para obter dados sobre a vida no Território nessa época. Acrescenta ainda no livro que Jack foi um combatente activo da pseudo-ocupação japonesa em Macau tendo ajudado a criar uma rede de espionagem no Território. Leak Kolbe é a protagonista desta história de ficção. Jack Braga é bem real. No seu site sobre o livro pode ler-se...  "a story about Leah Kolbe and what happened when Hong Kong fell to the Japanese on 25th of December 1941."
Caroline Petit was born in Washington D.C., raised in Maryland and now lives in Melbourne, Australia. She is a graduate of Chatham College in Pittsburgh and also holds advance degrees from Johns Hopkins University, the London School of Economics, and the University of Melbourne's School of Law. The Fat Man's Daughter is her first novel (2005).
Mapa de Hong Kong e Kowloon mostrando o 'parco' sistema de defesa em 1941
 Desfile de tropas em Macau: da exposição "Macau during the sino-japanese war"
Leah Kolbe has taken over her father's notorious antiquities business in Hong Kong after he died mysteriously. Now the Japanese have occupied most of mainland China and threaten the British Crown Colony of Hong Kong. When the Japanese launch a surprise attack, Leah's fiancé, Jonathan Hawatyne, becomes a prisoner of war. Escaping internment by the Japanese, Leah makes it to Macau, arriving destitute - everything stolen, including her shoes. She finds a job at the British consulate and is accepted into local Portuguese society. When asked, Leah agrees to become a British spy and to take a Japanese armaments manufacturer as a lover, putting her life in constant peril. The information he reveals is invaluable to the embattled Chinese and the American Air Force in Chungking. Leah longs for the end of the war and the end of her moral compromises. She hopes against hope that Jonathan will be among the survivors of the brutal regime the Japanese established in Hong Kong. But when the war is over, Leah discovers the world of peace is a complicated place to navigate. From Caroline's webpage

Reconnecting with beautiful antiques dealer Leah Kolbe and her fiancé, Jonathan Hawatyne, Petit's sequel to The Fat Man's Daughter opens with a scene of Hong Kong splendor, complete with Ernest Hemingway at the Peninsula Hotel, setting the stage for the loss to come when the start of the second Sino-Japanese War in 1937 sends Jonathan into battle - right in the middle of a movie date. Heart-broken, Leah prepares for starvation on watery congee, but after Hong Kong surrenders manages to escape by boat. Landing in Macau's with nothing, she finds work with the British Consulate and then is recruited by a man named Benjamin Eldersen to get close to a Japanese businessman, the son of an ammunition and steel manufacturer. Espionage hijinx ensue, and Jonathan's gone missing. Throughout, readers are meant to feel Leah's anguish for Jonathan, but her interior life remains stubbornly two-dimensional. Still, the melodrama pulls readers through the streets of Hong Kong and Macau during a tempestuous period, making this war-time romantic suspenser a pleasant enough escape.

“A colorful portrayal of the cruelty and deprivation of war, it's peppered with vividly portrayed historical personages (among them newly married Ernest Hemingway and Martha Gellhorn), and it stars a plucky protagonist who continues to land on her feet.”  
“The melodrama pulls readers through the streets of Hong Kong and Macau during a tempestuous period, making this war-time romantic suspenser a pleasant enough escape.” Publishers Weekly

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