My Beautiful Enemy
Shortlisted for the 2014 Miles Franklin Award
'I was blinded by his beauty. In the one or two photographs I've kept of him I can still see it. He stares out of them almost miserably, as if his loveliness is an affliction. Not that I saw it that way, at least not in the beginning. In the beginning I thought it was a kind of miracle.' Arthur Wheeler is haunted by his infatuation with a Japanese youth he encountered in the enemy alien camp where he worked as a guard during WW2. Abandoning his wife and baby son, Arthur sets out on a doomed mission to rescue his lover from forced deportation back to Japan, a country in ruins. Thus begins the secret history of a soldier at war with his own sexuality and dangerously at odds with the racism that underpins the crumbling British Empire. Four decades later Arthur is still obsessed with the traumatic events of his youth. He proposes a last reunion with his lost lover, in the hope of laying his ghosts to rest, but this mission too seems doomed to failure. Like Merry Christmas, Mr Lawrence and Snow Falling On Cedars, My Beautiful Enemy explores questions of desire and redemption against the background of a savage racial war. In this context, Arthur's private battles against his own nature, and against the conventions of his time, can only end in heartache.
Read Caroline Baum's Review:
I'll admit, sometimes I pick up a book with a sense of duty. So it's a real joy when duty turns to pleasure, as it did reading this beautifully calibrated story of Arthur a young man who falls in love with Stanley, a Japanese enemy alien at the WW2 internment camp where he is a guard. Longing, desire, fear, confusion and self-delusion are all expressed with finesse and subtlety in a distinctive, memorable voice and assured, elegant prose.
About the Author
Cory Taylor is an award-winning screenwriter who has also published short fiction and children's books. Her first novel, Me and Mr Booker, won the Commonwealth Writers Prize (Pacific Region). She lives in Brisbane.