The Third Son

Written by Julie Wu
Review by Viviane Crystal

Saburo and his family live in Japanese-occupied Taoyuan (Taiwan) in the 1930s. Her father has learned to adapt to the oppressors and assumed the position of mayor. The Japanese may be the enemy, but their presence has brought progress to the country, which is about to end. The Nationalists have arrived, brutally ousting the Japanese with American financial support and now punishing anyone who supported the Japanese. The days of fear and attacks bring death to thousands of Taiwanese individuals and families.

Saburo falls in love with a girl he saw years earlier, Yoshiko, but must learn to overcome his doubts instilled in him by two hypercritical parents and the diminished role he has as the “third son.” Breaking free of the limitations of others, Saburo travels to America and earns a master’s and Ph.D., freeing his wife to bring their son. Now he must learn all over to support, honor, and love these two strangers who have learned to live without him. The Third Son is exquisite historical fiction covering little-known realities about Taiwan and the journey to independence of its unique people. Highly recommended and enjoyable reading!