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Publisher's Summary

Jim is separated from his parents in a world at war. To survive, he must find a strength greater than all the events that surround him.

Shanghai, 1941 -- a city aflame from the fateful torch of Pearl Harbor. In streets full of chaos and corpses, a young British boy searches in vain for his parents. Imprisoned in a Japanese concentration camp, he is witness to the fierce white flash of Nagasaki, as the bomb bellows the end of the war...and the dawn of a blighted world.

Ballard's enduring novel of war and deprivation, internment camps and death marches, and starvation and survival is an honest coming-of-age tale set in a world thrown utterly out of joint.

©1987 J. G. Ballard (P)1987 Simon & Schuster

Critic Reviews

"An outstanding novel...a classic adventure story." ( The New York Times)
"A profound and moving work of the imagination." ( Los Angeles Times Book Review)
"An incredible literary achievement....Brilliant." (Anthony Burgess)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    34
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    10
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Performance

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    41
  • 4 Stars
    7
  • 3 Stars
    4
  • 2 Stars
    2
  • 1 Stars
    1

Story

  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    32
  • 4 Stars
    19
  • 3 Stars
    2
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    2
  • 1 Stars
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Sort by:
  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Abridged version kind of ruins it.

I love this book and found the abridged version sort of disappointing. I wish there was an unabridged one. The narration by Jeremy Irons is great though. Consequently I would recommended reading the book rather that listening to abridged version. I added it to my library because it was inexpensive and I had a $10 credit. Wish I had not.

7 of 7 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

empire of the sun

Only giving it 4/5 because it's abridged. Why do they do this?
This is one that you will listen to a couple of times. Well done.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Amber
  • Fort Collins, CO, United States
  • 09-02-11

A nice surprise

I will admit, I bought this book just because Jeremy Irons was narrating. He doesn't disappoint, but as well as being treated to hours of Jeremy Irons I found a fantastic little story about how war looks through the eyes of a child. It's an incredible look into how adaptable children are, and how quickly something that would leave an adult quaking can become just another every day thing. It's scary, but leaves you with a lot to think about.

Great story, I'm very glad I downloaded this.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

never again abridged

Jeremy Irons is the best, but it was tough keeping up with the abridge jumps

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nate
  • Eagle Mountain, UT, United States
  • 03-22-16

Wish it was unabridged

Would you recommend this book to a friend? Why or why not?

I wouldn't recommend any abridged book to a friend, that's just not nice.

What did you like best about this story?

The story.

Which scene was your favorite?

There were a lot of them I liked, they were just too short.

Do you think Empire of the Sun needs a follow-up book? Why or why not?

No, but the unabridged version would be nice.

Any additional comments?

I like the story a lot, just not the abridged version. You might as well just watch the movie. It has young batman in it.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

A tough act to follow

I kept reading and rereading this story. This is now one of the books I can count on one hand. It ranks among the best, after a lifetime of listening to audio books.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Well done

I grew up on this story. Listening to the audiobook made it new somehow. Wonderful narration.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars

great story and narration

remember this is the abridged edition, some parts of story are missing. great narration with emotion and " English " intelligence