The Ash Garden by Dennis Bock

The Ash Garden

Dennis Bock

An extraordinary account of what happens when a Hiroshima survivor comes face to face with one of the scientists responsible for the development of the atomic bomb. Usually I avoid reading about war, but this was beautifully written and gave an incredible insight into the long lasting damage. There's even a surprise ending.

Extract

One morning toward the end of summer they burned away my face, my little brother and I were playing on the bank of the river that flowed past the eastern edge of our neighbourhood, on the grassy floodplain that had been my people's home and misery for centuries. It was there I used to draw mud pictures on Mitsuo's back with a wide-edged cherry switch, which I hid in a nearby hickory bush when it was time to go home .... The day my parents were killed I'd decided to paint my grandfather's face. I had turned six just a few weeks earlier. Mitsuo, my little brother, was only four years and three months.

Parallels
  • The Great Fire by Shirley Hazzard
  • A Month in the Country by J L Carr