The Garden of Evening Mists

The Garden of Evening Mists

4.08 (13,968 ratings by Goodreads)
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The International Bestseller
Winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize 2012
Winner of the Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction 2013
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012
Shortlisted for the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award

'With ravishing sensuousness, it conjures up the lush landscapes and tea estates of Malaya during the 1950s Emergency . . . A haunting novel about memory' Sunday Times Books of the Year

In the highlands of Malaya, a woman sets out to build a memorial to her sister, killed at the hands of the Japanese during the brutal Occupation of their country. Yun Ling's quest leads her to The Garden of Evening Mists, and to Aritomo, a man of extraordinary skill and reputation, once the gardener of the Emperor of Japan. When she accepts his offer to become his apprentice, she begins a journey into her past, inextricably linked with the secrets of her troubled country's history.
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Product details

  • Paperback | 352 pages
  • 111 x 178 x 21mm | 190g
  • Canongate Books Ltd
  • Edinburgh, United Kingdom
  • English
  • Export
  • 1782110178
  • 9781782110170
  • 14,744

About Tan Twan Eng

Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang, Malaysia. His debut novel The Gift of Rain was longlisted for the Man Booker Prize in 2007 and has been widely translated. The Garden of Evening Mists won the Man Asian Literary Prize 2012 and the 2013 Walter Scott Prize for historical fiction and was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012 and the 2014 International IMPAC Dublin Literary Award. He divides his time between Kuala Lumpur and Cape Town.
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Review quote

An elegant and haunting novel of war, art and memory . . . its beauty never comes to rest * * Independent * * Complex and powerful . . . sophisticated and satisfying * * Sunday Times * * It is impossible to resist the opening sentence of this sumptuously produced novel . . . It showcases Tan Twan Eng as a master of cultural complexities * * Guardian * * Elegant and atmospheric * * The Times * * Tantalisingly evocative . . . Suffused with a satisfying richness of colour and character, it still abounds in hidden passageways and occult corners. Mysteries and secrets persist. Tan dwells often on the borderline states, the in between areas, of Japanese art: the archer's hiatus before the arrow speeds from the bow; the patch of skin that a master of the horimono tattoo will leave bare; or the "beautiful and sorrowful" moment "just as the last leaf is about to drop" . . . An elegant and haunting novel of war, art and memory * * Independent * * A beautiful, dark and wistful exploration of loss and remembrance, that will stay with you long after reading * * Daily Telegraph * * War, art and memory join in a subtle story, notable for its ravishing prose, glorious sense of place, and mature alertness to the deceptive vistas of history -- Boyd Tonkin * * Independent * * With ravishing sensuousness, it conjures up the lush landscapes and tea estates of Malaya during the 1950s Emergency, as reflections on Japanese aesthetic refinements in gardening and art intersect with recollections of Japanese wartime atrocities in a haunting novel about memory -- Peter Kemp * * The Sunday Times * * This beautifully written book is full of arresting images... Achieved with the seemingly effortless poise of a remarkable fictional artistry, Tan Twan Eng's winning novel will be prized by all those who cannot resist the mastery of language * * Good Book Guide * * This book is to be kept and re-read and revered for its elegant, lyrical prose * * Red * * The Garden of Evening Mists is an almost indescribably beautiful, rich and rewarding novel with multiple layers that are expertly weaved into a coherent work of art * * Library Thing * * A good old-fashioned story with a plot that arcs gracefully, maintains suspense, and stays true to characterisation . . . incredibly satisfying * * Asian Review of Books * * 'Grace and empathy infuse this melancholy landscape of complex loyalties enfolded by brutal history, creating a novel of peculiar, mysterious, tragic beauty * * Kirkus Reviews * * The layering of historical periods is intricate, the descriptions of highland Malaysia are richly evocative, and the characterisation is both dark and compelling. Guarding its mysteries until the very end, this is a novel of subtle power and redemptive grace -- Maya Jaggi, chair of the Man Asian judges A richly engimatic, layered novel, which portrays the complexity of Malaya at the time, as well as the jaggedness of relationships, sensitively providing multiple glimpses of cultural identities * * Good Book Guide * * Beautiful . . . Delicate, sumptuous and delightful in its imagery and poetry of language . . . this wonderful novel creates a landscape in the reader's imagination, rich in detail and tender in its telling * * Parent Talk * *
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Rating details

13,968 ratings
4.08 out of 5 stars
5 38% (5,283)
4 39% (5,515)
3 17% (2,378)
2 4% (589)
1 1% (203)

Our customer reviews

I was truly captivated by this novel, which had been short listed for the 2012 Man Booker. From the first page to the last the tale gently unfolded, revealing layer upon layer of the story. I just did not want the book to finish. Tan Twan Eng has written a novel that takes the reader on an amazing more
Superb does not do this justice - it is a book to read quietly and alone where you can savor every word, sound and feeling. It is real in a way that most books which discuss prisoner of war, torture etc never are. Gift of Rain was excellent, this, so much more
by Catherine Spence
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