The very long but very worthwhile Sandakan No. 8 is set in mid-20th-century Japan. A crusading female journalist makes the acquaintance of an elderly woman who years earlier had been shipped against her will to Borneo. As a young girl, she had been sold into prostitution by her impoverished family. The friendship between the old woman and the young journalist is the heart of the story, and we use that word in its every sense.