Empire of the Sun

Narrated by: Jeremy Irons
Length: 3 hrs and 8 mins
4 out of 5 stars (97 ratings)

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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
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  • 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.

9 people found this 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 people found this helpful

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

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.

2 people found this helpful

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

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 people found this 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 person found this helpful

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

Unfortunately abridged

This is a great book and Jeremy Irons gives a great performance. I was disappointed however to find that it is abridged, which was not evident in the description.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

The one audible book to have

If you're gonna buy one audible book to immerse yourself in, this is it. Jeremy Irons reads this book like no other bringing the characters and story telling to life as vividly as it was lived. I had to listen to the last part of the the book over and over again. I lack the words to praise this audio book appropriately so I will use this cliches. It is hauntingly beautiful.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars

Mixed feelings

There is no doubt that Jeremy Irons is a great actor. However, his delivery of this material is uniformly quiet, flat, almost inflectionless. This bothered me for much of the book until I decided this must be a choice to reflect Jim’s unflappable acceptance of all that was happening to him. Unfortunately, the sound quality of this recording is poor as well. All of this leaves me a bit undecided about this recording.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    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
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    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.