When Sidney Vanoven is sent to occupied Japan, in the immediate aftermath of the Second World War, it is his dream posting. By day, he works in the censor's office watching Japanese films; at night he immerses himself in the sensual pleasures of Tokyo.
His job leads him into the circle of the beautiful film star Shirley Yamaguchi, a passionate and indomitable woman, whose wartime secrets hint at deception and betrayal. As he learns more of her story it seems to echo Japan's own dark secret.
In The China Lover, Ian Buruma has created an exhilarating saga of war-torn Japan that is epic in scale, richly imagined and vividly populated. It is quite simply unforgettable.