BookDragon Books for the Multi-Culti Reader

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng [in Library Journal]

Garden of Evening Mists* STARRED REVIEW
Like his debut, The Gift of Rain (2007), Malaysian author Tan Twan Eng‘s second novel is exquisite and, like Gift, arrives stateside with Booker Prize longlist approval.

Recently retired judge Teoh Yun Ling has at most a year before she will lose all language and memory to aphasia. She leaves Kuala Lumpur for the highlands of central Malaysia and finds Yugiri – the book’s eponymous Garden of Evening Mists – where she’s agreed to meet a Japanese scholar writing a book about Yugiri’s creator, Aritomo, the self-exiled former gardener to the emperor of Japan.

Four decades earlier, in spite of being the single survivor of a horrific World War II Japanese prison, Yun Ling apprenticed herself to Aritomo, hoping to someday create the perfect garden to honor her murdered sister. Almost 38 years have passed since Aritomo disappeared, and now, threatened with erasure, Yun Ling begins to record his story as well as her own.

Verdict: Tan triumphs again, entwining the redemptive power of storytelling with the search for elusive truth, all the while juxtaposing Japan’s ignominious war history with glorious moments of Japanese art and philosophy. Readers in search of spectacular writing will not be disappointed.

Review: “Fiction,” Library Journal, September 15, 2012

Tidbit: Since the review was originally written, Tan moved up to the Booker shortlist! You know who I’ll be rooting for! Stay tuned!

Tidbit2: Library Journal says Garden is one of four September titles “trending now that I don’t want you to miss,” writes fiction editor Barbara Hoffert. This review above gets quotes. Whoo hoooo!

Tidbit3: To check out my recent Bookslut interview with Tan, click here.

Readers: Adult

Published: 2012


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  • Claire ‘Word by Word’

    Totally sounds like my kind of book and can’t wait to get my hands on a copy, so pleased it made the shortlist.

    • SI BookDragon

      You will LOVE it! Have you read his Gift of Rain? WOWOWOWOW!!!!!!!!!!!

      • Claire ‘Word by Word’

        No, hadn’t even heard of this author until now. Best get with it!

        • SI BookDragon

          Yes, best. Love how you put that!

          Start with Gift of Rain, if you have the choice.

          Others NOT to miss (or perhaps you’ve already read and swooned over?): Burnt Shadows. The Perfect Man. WOWOWOWOW.

          • Claire ‘Word by Word’

            Ok, just downloaded The Gift of Rain and am now drowning in wonderful books, do love the sensation though :) Oh no, more recommendations to swoon over!

            • SI BookDragon

              Hope you have nothing else to do the rest of the day! Because you are not going to be able to tear yourself away from that e-reader once you start!

              OH, THAT BOOK …!!!! Am re-savoring the memory of discovering that book … swooning right along with you!