Monday Book: My Beautiful Enemy

My-Beautiful-Enemy-196x300My Beautiful Enemy

by Cory Taylor

Text Publishing


When seventeen year-old Arthur Wheeler went to war in 1945, he only traveled 100 miles from Melbourne. He was appointed as a guard at Tatura, a camp that housed Japanese ‘aliens’. Despite the savage reputation of Japanese troops during the war, most people regarded the ‘Japs’ as harmless and the camp as so benign that most of the children were let out to go to school. Arthur had struggled with his sexuality but he believed in mind over matter and married girlfriend May. Suffering from nervous complaints that made his unfit for active duty, Arthur spent much of his time in the infirmary.

When Stanley Ueno, a Japanese youth who had tried to escape the camp, was taken to the infirmary, Arthur realised that his will to resist nature had failed him. Stanley stirred longings that he had desperately hoped to suppress. When the war ended, Stanley was shipped back to Japan and Arthur attempted to continue the charade of family life. Cory Taylor’s beautifully written novel of secret desires is not resolved until, four decades later, Arthur travels to Japan to put to rest his obsession with the beautiful Stanley. Robert Dessaix has described the book as “an almost unbearably beautiful story about longing and secret lives in which grief and joy turn out to be much the same thing.”

Lezly Herbert

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