My old man taught me to drive on Sundays, usually when he was drunk. I was fifteen and he was a big shot on the Pearl Harbor Naval Shipyard, the head engineer of combat systems on nuclear submarines and surface ships. During the work week he was a sober, respectable member of the community, but on weekends he lived an entirely different life, which included bouts of sullen, angry drunkenness and unpredictable fights with my mother. He often gave me a driving lesson after one of their battles, when he was still brooding and slugging off a bottle of Wild Turkey. He’d insist we drive over to a small strip of land just off Honolulu, a place the locals called Rabbit Island, even though there wasn’t a wild rabbit anywhere in the Hawaiian Islands that I knew of.
All posts tagged: Parker Blaney
Review: The Gods of Heavenly Punishment
Book by JENNIFER CODY EPSTEIN
Jennifer Cody Epstein’s The Gods of Heavenly Punishment is a sprawling novel, traversing the era of World War II from 1935 to the air-attack of mainland Japan in 1945, with an epilogue set in the early sixties. The time frame of the story is large, as are many of its scenes, such as Tokyo being firebombed or in the cockpit of a B-25 during Doolittle’s raid. This is a generous novel with heart. Epstein uses the simple device of a ring with a green stone to pull together the lives of characters from two sides of the Pacific Ocean, but the ring symbolizes a hope for a broader reconciliation. Though the two main combatants in the war for the Pacific have been allies for many decades, neither the U.S. or Japan have ever fully accounted for the devastation they wrought on each other: the U.S. decisions to firebomb and, ultimately, to drop atomic bombs on the civilian population of Japan and force its capitulation, as well as Japan’s choice to attack Pearl Harbor and commit war crimes in the Philippines and Manchuria.