When the Japanese take Borneo in 1942, Agnes Keith is captured and imprisoned with her two-year-old son.
Fed on minimal rations, forced to work through recurrent bouts of malaria and fighting with rats for scraps of food, Agnes Keith's spirit never completely dies.
Keeping notes on scraps of paper which she hides in her son's home-made toys or buries in tins, she records a mother's pain at watching her child go hungry and her poignant pride in his development within these strange confines.
She also describes her captors in all their complexity.
Colonel Suga, the camp commander, is an intelligent, highly educated man, at times her adversary, at others a strange ally in a distorted world.
- Format: Paperback
- Pages: 304 pages
- Publisher: Eland Publishing Ltd
- Publication Date: 01/10/2002
- Category: Biography: general
- ISBN: 9780907871286
Showing 1 - 2 of 2 reviews.
Review by HadriantheBlind
Life in a Japanese prison camp in Borneo. Humanity and inhumanity of war. Author writes fairly about everyone, including the Japanese guards. Astonishing and touching book, and one I'm surprised hasn't been heard of more.
Review by starbox
When the Second World War broke out in the East, the author was a popular author, living a privileged colonial life in Borneo, with her civil servant husband and toddler son. Refusing opportunities to escape back to the USA, she found herself in a series of Japanese camps with other women and children . Ms Keith relays everyday life for them - ever-decreasing rations, only made tolerable by smuggling - violent punishments, disease and the fear for their menfolk in an adjoining camp, as the Japanese seek to get rid of their 'proudery and arrogance.'Yet despite the war, there were instances of extreme kindness, as some Japanese smuggled food to their captives, such that Ms Keith was motivated to give a written testimonial to one guard to protect him against the Allies.Wonderfully enlivened by little b/w line drawings by the author,Great read that brings the War to life.