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Beyond the Bukubuk Tree: A World War II Novel of Love and Loss
by Loretta Goldberg

Published: 2024-06-25T00:0
Paperback : 376 pages
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From the award-winning author of The Reversible Mask: An Elizabethan Spy Novel comes an International Firebird Book Award-winning searing tale of passion, redemption, betrayal, and heroism.

New Guinea, 1941. Heroism, sacrifice and ultimately, hope, transcend the terrifying war.

Two ...

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Introduction

From the award-winning author of The Reversible Mask: An Elizabethan Spy Novel comes an International Firebird Book Award-winning searing tale of passion, redemption, betrayal, and heroism.

New Guinea, 1941. Heroism, sacrifice and ultimately, hope, transcend the terrifying war.

Two men preparing for war, both with secrets they are determined to keep. Jake Friedman, an idealistic young Jewish doctor from Melbourne, is haunted by the death of a colleague he thinks he caused. Alex Whipple, a Catholic known as Wip, is a soul-scarred veteran of the First World War. Wip is an enigma who fights bullies on behalf of their victims yet has a chequered past in the wild side of post-war Paris that he is determined to forget.

Both are posted to Lark Force, a lone and under-resourced battalion defending the port town of Rabaul. It’s not long before Jake and Wip feel a deep pull of attraction. When the Japanese invade Rabaul, their battalion is abandoned by its government. Improvising a desperate jungle retreat, fighting rain, insects, disease, and vengeful Japanese pursuers, Jake will face the ultimate trials of his courage as Wip struggles to find the will to live.

***

This meticulously researched and richly textured novel is set in a lesser-known battle of the Pacific War. The strength of the human spirit, the bonds of love, and the resilience of diverse communities are tested against the backdrop of these battles. “Beyond the Bukubuk Tree” is a gripping saga of courage, love, and survival in the face of overwhelming adversity.

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Discussion Questions

From the author:

1. Did the Australian Government betray Lark Force or did their commanding officer fail them? Or both?

2. Was Jake’s love for Wip permanently transformative for Wip?

3. Do you think the Tolai characters you met can survive the Japanese occupation without cultural and psychological destruction?

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