The Invincible

by Jared Mitchell,
432 pages,
ISBN: 189555571X

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First Novels - Handicap, Hackles, Hong King, Horror
by Eva Tihanyi

Politics and history infuse The Invincible, by Jared Mitchell (Lester, 432 pages, $28.95 cloth), as well, but there the comparison ends. Mitchell focuses on a group of characters in Hong Kong during World War II, follows them from the status-conscious British colonial life destroyed for ever by the Japanese invasion of the city, through the Japanese occupation and the eventual liberation.

There is Celia Bannister, as concerned with her social standing (even in an internment camp) as she is with staying alive; Lieutenant Craig Osler of the Winnipeg Grenadiers, with his courage and cleverness; and Millie Ch'eng, who, as a means of securing food and shelter, becomes the mistress of the powerful colonel in the dreaded Japanese military police.

One of the central points Mitchell drives memorably home is that no matter how much people look away, avoid things they don't want to know, they will not be spared. Ignorance will not save them.

The Invincible is about facing the truth and surviving the confrontation. It is about the heights and depths the human soul will rise and sink to, but most of all, it is about the soul's incredible capacity for endurance-which, in the end, seems to be the only victory.


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