Sunday, 9 October 2016
John G. Smith was talking with a veteran of WW2. He heard a tragic story of how the veteran was torn from his first true love, a beautiful Burmese girl.
Even now, all these years later, he secretly carried a photograph of himself and his girlfriend, hidden within his wallet.
As it does with every other good author, this set up a "what if...?" moment within the imagination of John G. Smith.
And he brings to his readers the story of Eugene.
Eugene had been conscripted into the RAF and suffered a particularly harrowing tour of duty in Burma.
All Eugene wanted to do was to return home to Britain and to be welcomed back into the family butchery business.
But due to the infighting of his brothers and the fact that at 74 his father had lost control of the business, Eugene was, in effect, banished from the family business.
He decides to move forward, setting out to become a successful businessman in his own right, embracing the opportunities that existed in post World War 2 Britain.
For all his advancements in his life, both business and pleasure, Eugene still resents the fact that he had to leave behind him is girlfriend, a Burmese nurse called Chit.
Because so-called fraternisation with a local girl was considered a serious offence.
Eugene thrives commercially, even during times when others are going under, yet his personal life began to disintegrate around him.
This is a well-written and very moving novel.
It is published by Matador at £8.99.