In the uneasy aftermath of war, a group of ordinary, civilised people on an island off Java face the legacy of hatred and corruption left by the Japanese occupation. With sudden and violent death ever present, they seize their moments of happiness and try above all else to stay alive until the opportunity for release arrives. Selfishness, sex, greed, fear, revenge, all play their part; so too do the finer instincts of love, loyalty and concern, for people have a way of both hurting and caring for one another. Men and women, soldiers and civilians, Europeans and Asians - Dirk Bogarde brings each of them alive through his marvellously witty dialogue and penetrating sense of character. At times gloriously funny, never sitting in judgement, he portrays their fallible, complex humanity as the thin skin of conventional behaviour, tautened in the corrosive atmosphere of the East Indies, gradually begins to split. As compelling as it is enjoyable to read, Dirk Bogarde's novel is both a delightful comedy of manners and an incisive study of people under pressure. From beginning to end it is original, and unmistakably true to life. A Gentle Occupationis a story about survival, and the price that has to be paid for it.
Sir Dirk Bogarde was an English actor and novelist. Initially a matinee idol, Bogarde later acted in art-house films such as Death In Venice. As well as completing six novels, Bogarde wrote several volumes of autobiography.
Between 1947 and 1991, Bogarde made more than sixty films. For over two decades he lived in Italy and France, where he began to write seriously.
In 1985 he was awarded an honorary degree of Doctor of Letters by the University of St Andrews and in 1990 was promoted to Commandeur de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres by the French government.
Sir Dirk Bogarde has a legion of fans to this day - an extraordinary commitment to an extraordinary man.