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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"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!
"Complex and emotional"
Yes. Beautifully written story with many threads woven into the life of the central character. Examines and vividly paints the period of the Malaysian emergency and the aftermath of the war with the Japanese . Nothing is trite, easy or predictable and there is a deep understanding of cultural dilemma.
Magnus. This rough South African Boer and his uncompromising views on the British, his determination to succeed as a tea planter and his raw, plain speaking courage are part of a shell that protects a loving, caring and protective nature for those closest to him.
She brings the characters to life and has a lovely voice. Sadly her South African accent is not the best, but it doesn't spoil the book as there is so much else to enjoy about her narration. I have been seeking out other stories she has read because of this one.
No - there is too much to take in.
I was completely engrossed and emotionally involved with this book. It needs to be listened to more than once - there is so much to experience.
"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.
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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