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TOP 500 REVIEWERVINE VOICEon 6 January 2013
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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on 24 September 2017
This came highly recommended but I found it rather pretentious. At first I thought it was a translation as the prose was quite clunky but then realised it is not. It felt like the author had done a lot of research and wanted to get all his knowledge in whether or not it helped the story. Also for such a wannabe 'poetic' style the actual plot became rather Indiana Jones and the lost treasures of Asia!
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on 15 July 2017
Beautifully written book. I can understand why some reviewers found it slow moving. I thought the pace of the book was in keeping with the character of Yun Ling. Through the book, looking up all places mentioned on my iPad, I learned a lot about that beautiful part of the world. Worth reading.
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on 20 October 2016
Best book I've read in ages
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on 31 March 2017
A wonderful book. It's everything that those dreadful books with "tea planter" in the title aspire to be but fail.
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on 24 October 2014
Although a little slow at the beginning it does pick up. I found the switching of time periods between chapters quite confusing. The story was at its most enjoyable for me in the last few chapters, I found out more from them than the whole story.
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on 14 October 2017
Not finished yet but thoroughly enjoying this. great descriptive writing and interesting subject(s)
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on 12 March 2017
Not quite as good as the Gift of Rain but still excellent
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on 29 March 2017
Excellent read.
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on 11 August 2017
not for me
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