A Choice of Evils

Published by Weidenfeld and Nicolson, London 1996.
Book of the Month – The Softback Preview Book Club – 1996.
Reissued by Marshall Cavendish, Singapore 2018.
The sweep of this epic novel moves from the Sino-Japanese war, when Japan annexed Manchuria in the early 1930s until the end of the Second World War. The story of these tumultuous years is told through the lives of a disparate group of characters, people in flight from both political tyranny and themselves. A young Russian woman émigré is caught between her complex love affair with a British journalist and an overwhelming passion for a liberal minded Japanese diplomat who dares to stand by his conscience against all odds. An Indian nationalist working for Japanese intelligence, a Chinese professor with communist sympathies, an American missionary doctor and a Japanese soldier are all brought together by the monstrous dislocation of war, and the need to stand witness to humanity’s basest acts. Enmeshed in a savage world beyond their control, each character turns to the deepest part of themselves to find a way to survive.

‘..this extraordinary novel’s centrepiece is the rape of Nanking in 1937… what makes this book so completely absorbing is Meira Chand’s own scrupulous and unflinching analysis of the Japanese character…a marvellously researched and impressively well written novel.’

Frances Donelly. The Times 17th February 1996.


Thorough in its research, ambitious in scope, Chand’s latest novel shows…her ability to evoke time and place with the most economical of means…Compelling, harrowing.’

Trevor Johnston, Time Out.


‘Ambitious and impressive.’

Margaret Drabble.


‘…her mastery of narrative is evident throughout.’

The Daily Telegraph. 8th March 1997