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An escape from New South Wales

Shame and the Captives, by Thomas Keneally, is not a perfect novel, but this fictional account of escapee Japanese POWs is gripping nonetheless

26 April 2014

9:00 AM

26 April 2014

9:00 AM

Shame and the Captives Thomas Keneally

Sceptre, pp.378, £18.99, ISBN: 9781444281281

Thomas Keneally has constructed his latest novel around a framework of true events: the mass break-out of Japanese PoWs from a camp in New South Wales. This intrinsically thrilling incident, triggered by a fascinating clash between mutually uncomprehending cultures, is an obvious gift to a writer. There may be some who claim that any novelist could therefore have produced an interesting fictional version of it; but this is like saying that anyone could have made a landscape out of the fine park at Blenheim.

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