The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Family's War-time Courage

The Flamboya Tree: Memories of a Family's War-time Courage

by Clara Olink Kelly (Author)


"Why didn't you try to escape?" That was all she said. I had imagined my grandmother telling us how lovely it was to see us at last. I saw again in my mind's eye the barbed wire fences and the soldiers with the glistening bayonets, and felt once more that excruciating fear in the pit of my stomach. Try to escape? Lots of people had tried to escape. When the Japanese invaded the beautiful Indonesian island of Java during the Second World War Clara Kelly was four years old. Her family was separated, her father sent to work on the Burma railway, and she together with her mother and her two brothers, one a six-week-old baby, was sent to a 'women's camp'. They were interned there until the end of the war. Clara's descriptions of the appalling deprivations and impersonal brutality of the camp, easily recognisable as the same techniques used in the infamously cruel Japanes prisoner of war camps - standing in the baking heat for hours of 'Tenko' role-call, living on one cup of rice a day - are countered by the courage and resilience shown by all the internees, most poignantly her own mother.


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More Information

Format: Paperback
Pages: 224
Edition: New edition
Publisher: Arrow Books Ltd
Published: 01 May 2003

ISBN 10: 0099445530
ISBN 13: 9780099445531
Book Overview: A shocking and moving war memoir told from the perspective of a young child interned in a brutally violent Japanese war camp during World War Two. The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas meets Rabbit-Proof Fence in this startling and unique autobiography of a childhood spent in captivity.

Media Reviews
The Flamboya Tree is that rare treasure - a memoir so powerful and vivid that it draws the past into the present and makes us all history's creatures. * Amanda Foreman, winner of the Whitbread Award for Biography *
A moving, immediate account of a relatively unknown wartime drama - unforgettable * Booklist *
A wrenching memoir - these stories clearly demonstrate that terrible atrocities are committed - justified even - in the name of war * Seattle Times *
Kelly's survival and her book is, in effect, the most moving tribute to her remarkable mother, whose courage and indomitable spirit kept the family alive * Daily Mail *
Fascinating * People Magazine *
Author Bio
Clara Olink Kelly now lives in Bellingham, Washington with her husband. She spends much of her time with her children and grandchildren. The Flamboya Tree is her first book.