Original title: Pacifique
“A breathtaking trip to the land of the Rising Sun, the Pacific is a delight. “- Elle
“A peaceful, tender and intense novel.” – L’Express
“A poetic and sophisticated text that speaks of choice, humanity and destructive ideology. ” – Psychologies Magazine
“With Pacifique, Stéphanie Hochet delivers more than a Japanese novel: the story of a sentimental young man with a fate less written than he believed himself . ” – Le Monde des Livres
By drawing us into the mind of a Japanese kamikaze pilot in the Pacific theatre, Stéphanie Hochet offers a surprising novel of rare intensity.
In the chaos of World War II, stationed on a Japanese aircraft carrier, soldier Kaneda is getting ready to die. His mission is to crash his plane into an American cruiser. In that way, he will do his bit towards eradicating western man, the age-old enemy of eastern civilization. But Isao Kaneda is no zealot; doubt crowds his thoughts. He senses that all is lost for the Japanese Empire and that his sacrifice will do nothing to save his country. Isao has to dig deep, drawing upon his own past, his education, and ancestral customs to find the strength to do his duty.
On the fateful morning, he follows orders and climbs into the cockpit of his Zero fighter plane. But mid-flight, a technical problem forces him to crash land on a remote island in the archipelago. Try as he might, the plane won’t take off again. Abandoning it to trudge through the jungle, Isao eventually comes across a fishing village. He is welcomed by Ishikawa, the head of the island’s small community. Alongside Ishikawa in that overlooked place, the pilot learns to follow nature’s rhythm, sheltered from the commotion of the world beyond their shores. Every day, Isao immerses himself more deeply into an archaic Japan whose mores bring him peace. And so, far from war, the word pacific takes on its true meaning…
- Selected for the Prix Françoise Sagan
- Longlisted for the Prix Décembre 2020