The narrator of the book, a student at Devon during World War II. His best friend at school was Phineas, a superior athlete, while Gene was better known for his academic skills. Phineas and Gene spend a lovely summer together at Devon, which is ended when Phineas fell from a tree, an accident which Gene, either consciously or unconsciously, caused. Gene has a definite dark side lurking beneath the surface, though he appears to be a good, honest person in his everyday life. The book is spawned by a later visit to Devon, and of his strong memories and lingering feelings about what happened in 1942 at Devon.
R ecently, Buddhists in Myanmar and Sri Lanka have also called for violence. In 2013, Time magazine placed the Burmese Buddhist monk U Wirathu on their cover with the headline ‘The Face of Buddhist Terror’. U Wirathu has been a fiery critic of Burmese Muslims, particularly those who identify as Rohingya. The 2014 Myanmar census found that Buddhists make up 89 per cent of the population, compared with Muslims at per cent. Nevertheless, U Wirathu and his counterparts argue that both Burmese Buddhism and Myanmar itself are threatened by the ‘Islamification of Asia’. In well-attended sermons, U Wirathu has repeatedly derided Muslims and Islam, accusing them of seeking to destroy Burmese culture and the future of Buddhism. In one sermon, he likened Muslims to the African carp, explaining that they are inherently violent, prone to breed quickly, and want to eat their own kind.