Short listed for the Man Booker Prize 2012.
Malaya, 1949. After a career spent helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals, Yun Ling Teoh - herself the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp - seeks solace among the jungle fringed plantations of Northern Malaya. There she meets the enigmatic Aritomo, an exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan. Yun Ling asks Aritomo to create a garden in memory of her sister. But the jungle holds secrets of its own…
©2012 Tan Twan Eng (P)2012 W F Howes Ltd
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"beautifully written, superb narration"
loved this, swept away by the wonderful descriptions. highly recommended.. Narration excellent, made characters come alive. tragic, uplifting,poignant.
"Beautifully written, moving story."
Thorughly convincing story of a woman's experience of survival during the Japanese occupation of Malaya, and her subsequent return to life in the aftermath of being a prisoner of war and losing her beloved sister. Moving and insightful.
Not more than once a decade I read a novel that gives me so much pleasure and admiration that it stands out as a pinnacle on the landscape of life's experiences. This is one such book.
I will say little about the story as I want everyone to approach it fresh. It is about memory and forgetting, impermanence and loss, pain and mental strength, suffering and the burden of suffering, art and nature. It is sad and uplifting on every page. It inspires admiration both for the characters and for the aspects of eastern culture it describes. It delves into humanity, dealing with serious issues sensitively and profoundly and resisting, with the assured touch of a master of literature, every opportunity for cheap drama or trite sentiment.
The reading is sensitive and nicely phrased though unfortunately she can't do a South African accent.
I put some extended quotes in my amazon.co.uk review
"The best book I've read (listened to) in a long time"
This book recounts the experiences of a recently retired Chinese-Malaysian judge who was interned by the Japanese during World War 2. The prose is poetic, and the plot is full of unexpected twists and turns - a definite must read.
"A powerful story"
Powerful and beautiful reflection of human frailty. The characters to respect and love for their individuality - principled characters with flaws reflecting cultural traditions as well as personal weakness and vanity.
Beautifully and professionally narrated.
This will be a favorite of mine for a long time.
"Excellent historical novel"
I was so convinced this was an autobiography having got half way through it I had to google it to find out! The detail in the descriptions and the sense of absolute reality were incredible. I didn't want it to end.
There are so many.
she sounded as if she had the voice of the central character.
I bought this on recommendation of a friend of ours who is a keen gardner. I seriously recommend you buy it too!
I am sure this is a great piece of work and a very appealing scenario too.
However I simply could not listen to the narrator any longer than four chapters!
"Involving and - at the end - very affecting"
As quite often happens to me, at the beginning I thought I wasn't going to 'warm' to this, but it grew on me. I really enjoyed the story and the many characters. Inevitably all the answers to the questions were not answered but the theme meant that this was inevitable. It moves between times in the life of the narrator which are sometimes difficult to follow but do not seriously interfere with understanding the story.
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