The Japanese occupation of the Andamans during World War II changes lives irrevocably in this novel
The soldiers arrived on a morning in spring when the sea was unswollen and everyone said they were here to save them.
“They are Asian, like us,” said the father of Nomi and Zee, because he was like everyone.
Zee did not believe him. “Nobody cares about us.”
“The British have left. We are free.”
“We are not free. We are now under the Japanese.”
They argued till Zee left the village in a sulk and Nomi followed him.
The soldiers were everywhere, just standing around, carrying long guns and small satchels. When the children reached the jetty, Zee said, “There is nothing new here, there never is.” Pretending to study the sea, he tried to sound casual, but she knew him as well as he knew her. There was plenty new here. There were bombers in the sky and battleships in the sea. Nomi’s nose was full with black . . .