Review of Mothers Swam

Review of Mothers Swam

As I prepare the new edition of Mothers Swam for release, here’s one of my favourite reviews:


Mr. Richard Lw Bunning

5.0 out of 5 stars War, Survival and a Love that Transcends the Greatest of Cultural and Social Divides

Reviewed in the United States on 23 January 2018

Verified Purchase

Such a good read! Well told story of one man’s war, fought against the Japanese and a ghost, a guilt, from the past. A story of that same man that fought in the jungles of Burma, survived as a prisoner-of-war, and then as a prisoner on the run across Korea with an escaped ‘Comfort Girl’ that would later, eventually, become the very heart of his life. Then this same couple in a struggle against one Japanese, samurai sword wielding, sadistic, devil incarnate doctor.

This is an outstanding read, especially when one catches the rhythm of the prose, which then seem to dance through the desperation of tragic, blood-stained, battering chapters. I couldn’t put this book down until the return in 1946 to battle weary Britain, only to briefly draw breath while looking into the post-war character of the ever-changing, ever the same, Britain. Graham looks deep into the souls of those bruised, prejudiced, broad-shouldered, struggling survivors, as they slowly come to terms, or not, with their ever-changed country. Then still recovering the reader is thrown back to Korea, to the terrible war between North and South, and renewed struggles simply to survive. The climax of the book is desperate, as we cling to the hope that at last all will eventually come right for those tortured souls that so deserve happiness together.

This is a book by an English born writer whom so well draws on his understanding of the North-East Midlands of Britain, and of East Asia, where he currently lives and works. He has clearly read a great deal about the WWII history of South-East Asia, and I believe listened a great deal to the now passing generation to which we all owe so much. This is more than a war story, this is a drama about what it felt like to wear the shoes of those that lived the terrors that started for many in the 1930’s and only ended on the DMZ of the Korean Peninsula in 1953. The message of the book is one of hope, that eventually different cultures can finally walk our lands together. We must still live in that hope and do our individual best to combat those that ever carry the mindset of this book’s sick, elitist, doctor. There is after all only one true war, that between those that fight for a vision of nurturing humanity and those that remain ever jealous, selfish, cruel, elitist animals that willingly destroy all that would restrict them.

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