The Harsh Brutality of War — “The Divine Wind”

Recently, I read a story that is based in the Australian outback and is a fine piece of Australian literature, addressing several conflicts during War time, not only Australians but foreigners.

A collage is an interesting display for a front cover.

Prelude on Historical Fiction Types

We are no longer taking a deep dive, but pursuing simple language, but rather greater themes to understand and to digest if chosen to analyse. Garry Disher’s book is quite appealing to me as he combines history and major events of that time with fiction to create a novel which even children read along. Yes, on the cover of the book, it states that it has been a short-listed book for the children’s council of Australia. Children will be able to understand this, it’s no book to marvel, and for some critic with a black beard and semi-circle glasses to ponder about, while he holds a cup of black coffee. Of course, I’ve already mentioned several books on my site about this recurring thing with history and fiction, but one distinguishing feature on first glance is that it’s so clear, and it’s not something which requires you to take a visit to SparkNotes!

My say on this is that fiction is equally expressed well enough in either fiction or historical fiction. “Klara and The Sun” illustrates a society which its author had created, however Disher’s is scaffolding off the structure of the events in World War II that had occurred in Broome. You can have a more detailed insight about “Klara and The Sun” if you decide to read my review.

The Setting

Broome is a city located in Queensland. In the time Disher has brought us to, it’s a well established city thriving with people. Our expectations is that it is limited to simply the British (what’s saddening is that Aboriginals are simply out of the question, not even mentioned once). However it is thriving with different (mostly Asian) cultures, predominantly by the Japanese people. Something to consider is that these people are living calmly, and the now past “gold-rush” killing and crazy doom has died by the time it has came to Queensland. There is however an internal and stationary candle and heat burning and thriving the cooperation between the two distinct classes of cultures. The room is airtight for the candle, the air will not blow the flame out.

But we have forgotten about things like World War II, and sometimes, people need to make decisions. In this time, the white men and the Japanese men got along well. The whole pearl industry was thriving on the Japanese divers, who collected different valuables. The text even states sometimes the white men following some small aspects of culture, like how to prepare Japanese tea. It even goes to the extent that white men celebrate Japanese cultural occasions in Broome, like the fact that on the day of mourning the white men simply watch and be silent, following the grim environment as the souls go out to sea.

But even this is a giddy tale, even if the war mentioned in this novel did ever exist, and I knew that it was simply too good to be true. There’s something definitely wrong. That analogy of the candle in the airtight room, let’s return to that. Someone has left the window slightly open. One character, a Japanese man, held secret papers, and was to report back to Japan of the status of Broome. There may not be bad intentions, but it always suggests that there is no such thing as true peace between two cultures.

I feel like context is better seen as a whole and related to the realistic events that do occur in Broome, and for this reason I omitted the need to mention different characters.


As much as we loved this concord between these two cultures, someone is always going to get the strike. The Japanese, are in Australian country, and its not long before the Japanese men are taken out, and sent to internment camps, where they will remain for the rest of the war.

“We’ll just shove them with the Italians and Germans in some island”

One character above states that above, and it seems that although the Japanese are not actually owners of Australia, the Aboriginals are treated much worse than the foreigners. Does this make us suggest that peace will only be ensured on the basis of commerce, trade and business? Do the Aboriginals provide something for the British to have? It is always interesting these historical things. The same crooked character even goes to the point, proposing that the Aboriginals are actually crooks, and that they would. further aid the Japanese and “…guide them through the bush”. This is ostensibly harebrained, and the other characters around the table actually outraged in disapproval. Good on them.

Finally, we will return to the Japanese. Those Japanese that are left remaining are ignored and cast upon, and often excluded from the white society all because of a leader wants to fight another leader. Jap women are called prostitutes, whores and all kind of things you would not want to say in public. The once busy “Chinatown” (refers to the place where the Japanese would reside) of Broome, with the cinema, is now empty and dead. One account in the novel states that rocks were flung at windows of Japanese families. The men aren’t there to protect now, they are in some camp on some island.

Many others who are not Japanese are flung into the vicious circle. The main protagonist of the novel, Hart, houses two Japanese women — one a young woman and elderly woman, her mother.

Final Remark

This is a relatively small book but that isn’t what I’m interested in talking about. Some of you may sneer down on me for why I did not mention any characters at all. Well, first is that I am not writing an essay and I do not require to corroborate this, and I also believe it is more valuable to understand the surroundings and general environment of a book before you take on board reading the novel. Knowing the actions of some characters and the end of the story is something which I hope you do not aim to learn from reading books, but something much more deeper ….

“…people aren’t loyal to you, they are loyal to their need of you. Once their need changes, so does their loyalty.” — Kermit the Frog



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