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The Garden of Evening Mists [Kindle Edition]

Tan Twan Eng
4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (468 customer reviews)

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Book Description

The International Bestseller

'With ravishing sensuousness, it conjures up the lush landscapes and tea estates of Malaya during the 1950s Emergency . . . A haunting novel about memory' Sunday Times Books of the Year

In the highlands of Malaya, a woman sets out to build a memorial to her sister, killed at the hands of the Japanese during the brutal Occupation of their country. Yun Ling's quest leads her to The Garden of Evening Mists, and to Aritomo, a man of extraordinary skill and reputation, once the gardener of the Emperor of Japan. When she accepts his offer to become his apprentice, she begins a journey into her past, inextricably linked with the secrets of her troubled country's history.


Product Description

Review

Just as elegantly planted as his Man Booker-long listed debut The Gift of Rain, and even more tantalisingly evocative. --Boyd Tonkin, The Independent

Book Description

The international bestseller, winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize 2012 and the 2013 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

Product details

  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • File Size: 3088 KB
  • Print Length: 352 pages
  • Publisher: Canongate Books; Main edition (2 May 2013)
  • Sold by: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Language: English
  • ASIN: B00BJKYM8G
  • Text-to-Speech: Enabled
  • X-Ray:
  • Word Wise: Enabled
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (468 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #2,560 Paid in Kindle Store (See Top 100 Paid in Kindle Store)
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More About the Author

Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang, Malaysia. He divides his time between Kuala Lumpur and Cape Town.

The Gift of Rain, his first novel, was Longlisted for the Man Booker Prize. It has been translated into Italian, Spanish, Greek, Romanian, Czech and Serbian.

His latest novel is The Garden of Evening Mists, shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012. Boyd Tonkin in The Independent called it

'an elegant and haunting novel of art and war and memory...Tan writes with breath-catching poise and grace, linguistic refinement and searching intelligence...His fictional garden cultivates formal harmony -but also undermines it. It unmasks sophisticated artistry as a partner of pain and lies. This duality invests the novel with a climate of doubt; a mood - as with Aritomo's creation - of "tension and possibility". Its beauty never comes to rest.'

It has been translated/will be translated into German, French, Italian, Serbian, Spanish, Dutch, Polish, Taiwanese Chinese, Indonesian, Korean and Norwegian.

The Garden of Evening Mists won the Man Asian Literary Prize in March 2013.

In June it won the Walter Scott Prize 2013, from a shortlist of authors which included Hilary Mantel, Rose Tremain, Thomas Keneally, Pat Barker and Anthony Quinn.

The Garden of Evening Mists was also shortlisted for the International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award 2014.

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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
45 of 46 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Enigmatic Excellence 20 Feb. 2013
By Sofia
Format:Paperback
Tan Twan Eng's "The Garden of Evening Mists" is one of those rare books that I want to pick up and reread immediately, there is so much in this novel.

Ostensibly this is the tale of Yun Ling, a retired Malaysian judge, who returns to the highlands and to a garden she helped build after the war with the enigmatic former gardener to Emperor Hirohito, Aritomo. The garden of the title is a garden steeped in memory for her, but as the mists of memory shift, further mysterious facets of Aritomo's life are revealed. Who was he? What was his role in Malaysia? Tied to this is Yun Ling's individual journey, from Japanese prisoner of war to judge; the route of her recovery, of her making peace with her wartime experiences is inextricably linked to her learning the ancient art of Japanese gardens, learning how to look at things differently. The two stories find perfect harmony and expression in the garden as layer upon layer of detail is slowly added.

"The Garden of Evening Mists" is such a vibrant novel, with the narratives of Yun Ling and Aritomo intertwined and growing alongside those of Magnus and Emily (owners of the neighbouring tea plantation), Frederik (their heir), Yun Hong (Yun Ling's sister), Tatsuji (a Japanese academic) and those of Malaysia and Japan as they move beyond the shadows cast by the war. Within these stories also bloom tales of art, history, love, loss, honour, duty and regret within beautiful, lyrical prose.

This is a really fantastic novel. I shall be reading it again very soon, in the meantime, I recommend it whole-heartedly.
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108 of 112 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful and sensitively written 26 Jun. 2012
Format:Paperback
Having so enjoyed his first book, I started reading this one with great anticipation. I was not disappointed. His main character, a woman judge who has been tortured by the Japanese when they invaded Penang, approaches the former gardener to the Emperor of Japan, wanting him to make her a Japanese garden in memory of her sister.

His writing is magical and he paints vivid pictures of the Malaysian jungle near Cameron Heights. His introduces a longstanding family friend who is a survivor of the Boer War. Like the Judge he has experienced loss as his family was put in a concentration camp by the British. The battle for independence and the fight against communism also adds further depth to this fascinating story, which is wonderfully crafted throughout.

A must read.
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93 of 97 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Evocative and profound. 1 Jun. 2012
Format:Paperback
I found this second novel by Tan Twan Eng both absorbing and extraordinarily enriching. His hero is a woman. He writes in the first person singular and is obviously very much in touch with the female aspect of his psyche which adds to the authenticity of his plot.

I loved his first novel, 'The Gift of Rain,' and this one has an even greater profundity. I like especially the way in which he connects the past memories of his hero, Judge Teoh Yun Ling, with her present existence.

The real subject of the story is a Japanese Gardener, Nakamura Aritomo. He had once been the gardener of the Emperor of Japan. Yun Ling's story is intimately connected with Aritomo and the unique relationship between the two. There are several interesting characters and each plays a vital part in the unfolding of the story.

On the very first page Tan Twan Eng writes,

- "Thirty-six years after that morning, I hear his voice again, hollow and resonant. Memories I had locked away began to break free, like shards of ice fracturing off an arctic shelf. In sleep these broken floes drift towards the morning light of remembrance."

That's a marvellous paragraph and immediately hooked me on the story. Its a beautiful book full of wonderful and moving images as well as being an intriguing read.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful
By Sue Kichenside TOP 500 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
In limpid lucid prose, Tan Twan Eng transports us to other worlds, other times. He conveys his story with all the subtlety and serenity of an exquisite tea ceremony.

Teoh Yun Ling, a spiky Malayan judge, retires and returns to the place where she had been happy for a short while when she was a young woman. This is Yugiri, the legendary garden and the Malayan highland home of Aritomo, a renowned Japanese gardener who used to work for the Emperor. Yugiri is the only place where she has ever found solace.

Whilst it is Yun Ling who narrates the story, it is the enigmatic figure of Aritomo around whom this story swirls. Backwards in time, back to the atrocities of war and internment. Other characters are brought into focus but as they recall their various war-time experiences, the author drifts a little from his carefully composed writing style into exposition. However, this is to an extent unavoidable if the reader is to fully comprehend the complicated background politics.

The book is essentially about painful memories, addiction to pain and memory itself. As Yun Ling's starts to fail her, she tells us: "Memory is like patches of sunlight in an overcast valley, shifting with the movement of the clouds. Now and then the light will fall on a particular point in time, illuminating it for a moment before the wind seals up the gap, and the world is in shadows again."
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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A Sole Survivor Seeks a Soul's Release. 6 Jan. 2013
By Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWER VINE VOICE
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
Tan Twan Eng employs a multitude of metaphors in order to build a jigsaw puzzle, exquisitely complex, designed to be solved from the blind side with the picture only revealing itself when turned over on completion. Or a cryptic crossword with clues hidden in plain sight, partial answers nestling in boxes wrapped in tissue. A treasure hunt with a map that only unfurls a little at a time.

This is a book that leaves you wondering what understanding you still may have missed, even after two readings. It is rich, dense, challenging and yet strangely reassuring; soothing in tone. Valuably describing a past time and place; offering a true education to be absorbed slowly, paying respect for a writer who takes his time, using words as paint, creating pictures that will stay forever in the mind.

I should also add that it kept our Book Club (8 members this month) talking for over two hours and some of us all the way home in the car too!
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars Four Stars
a good read
Published 3 days ago by Mrs P A Howard
5.0 out of 5 stars book in good condition and a very interesting read
book in good condition and a very interesting read.

I have not yet read the 2 books at the top of the list
Published 8 days ago by Mrs.B.M.Ellis
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
vgc
Published 11 days ago by Mrs Catherine Fox
5.0 out of 5 stars Highly recommended
This is a truly fantastic book that explores many aspects of the human condition, touches on culture, ethnicity, conflict, mixed emotions, beauty, peace and weaves them in to a... Read more
Published 13 days ago by David
3.0 out of 5 stars Three Stars
I found this book a bit slow and boring but the writing is beautiful
Published 24 days ago by Mr fox
5.0 out of 5 stars a very moving and spell binding book
Beautifully written and descriptive narrative. The pain felt by the main character is felt deeply but also the beauty of the garden and surrounding mountains is breathtaking.
Published 26 days ago by Stella
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Sensitive writing of an interesting story about the aftermath of Japanese attacks in Malaysia.
Published 27 days ago by elaine butterworth
5.0 out of 5 stars A joy to read.
Beautiful.
Published 28 days ago by Nick BC
5.0 out of 5 stars Five Stars
Beautifully written book, extremely evocative of Malaysia. Thoroughly enjoyed it.
Published 1 month ago by Marie-Claire Gallagher
5.0 out of 5 stars A lesson for authors in how to move between different periods in a...
This is a rather beautifully written book. I think the author does two things very well. Firstly, the book flips between three time periods - early in the main characters life when... Read more
Published 1 month ago by R. Newton
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