Empire of the Sun Background

Empire of the Sun Background

Published in 1984 and winner of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize, Empire of the Sun is by eminent English writer J.G Ballard. The book is to some extent based on Ballard's service as a soldier in World War II, but is still most essentially fiction.

The plot is about an English young boy, Jamie Graham, who lives in ShangHai, China. After Pearl Harbor, Japan occupies ShangHai, and Jamie becomes separated from his parents, having to scavenge in abandoned houses, and eventually decides to enlist in the Japanese army. Jamie is surprised by how he fundamentally identifies with many aspects of the Japanese army, for example, he likes especially their fighter planes. The book talks about his experiences in the army, and in the end, how he is saved from starvation by American soldiers and returned to his family.

Empire of the Sun was adapted into a film starring Christian Bale in 1987, screenplayed by Steven Spielberg and nominated for six Oscars.

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