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The Garden of Evening Mists Paperback – 11 Feb 2012


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Product details

  • Paperback: 448 pages
  • Publisher: Myrmidon Books Ltd; 1st Edition Thus edition (11 Feb. 2012)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1905802625
  • ISBN-13: 978-1905802623
  • Product Dimensions: 17.6 x 2.6 x 23.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.4 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (468 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 104,095 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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.

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 --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

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Customer Reviews

4.4 out of 5 stars

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

45 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Sofia on 20 Feb. 2013
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 By Amazon Customer on 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 By Malcolm U on 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 on 22 Feb. 2013
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 By Katharine Kirby TOP 100 REVIEWERVINE VOICE on 6 Jan. 2013
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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