Sun, Feb 28, 2016 - Page 12 News List

Literary redemption

Out of print since the 1950s, Camphor Press is republishing Vern Sneider’s novel about life in Taiwan during the White Terror era

By Han Cheung  /  Staff reporter

“My viewpoint will be strictly that of the Formosan people, trying to exist under that government,” he wrote to George H. Kerr, author of Formosa Betrayed. “And … maybe, in my small way, I can do something for the people of Formosa.”

But although Sneider was critical of the government, he generally gives a balanced picture, including democracy proponents in the KMT and sympathetic soldiers, Benda says.

In addition, the American perspective is shown through the eyes of Ralph Barton, a journalist investigating life in Taiwan under martial law — which corresponds to Sneider’s role, except that the author believed that fiction is a more powerful vehicle through its “emotional pull,” as detailed in his letter to Kerr.

Sneider died in 1981 — too early for any chance to redeem his book, but at least June is able to see it happen.

“She was glad to have this out during her lifetime,” Swofford says.

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