Malayan Communist soldiers during the Malayan emergency

Sublime and seductive, The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

There’s alot going on in this garden!


Sublime and seductive, The Garden of Evening Mists has it all.
Intriguing characters in a fascinating historical context, written with lyricism and a deep philosophical heart.

Teoh Yun Ling is returning to her past before she loses her memory. A prisoner of the Japanese during the war, she and her sister had a dream that kept them going, the dream of creating a Japanese garden. Her sister didn’t make it, but after the war, against the backdrop of the Malayan Emergency, Yun Ling became the apprentice to the former gardener of Emperor Hirohito.
Now a retired judge, Yun Ling returns to the garden they created. As her story unravels, memories and secrets are revealed.

Malayan Communist soldiers during the Malayan emergency


Love, guilt and memory haunt this beautiful book. But don’t be fooled. Despite all the dreaminess, the story moves along at a cracking pace, sweeping across multiple characters. This book is immensely readable and beautiful. Not a simple combination to pull off!

I am in absolute agreement with Claire Armistead at The Guardian, this book should have won the Booker!
Vikzwrites is also a fan
I liked Matt’s insights on the book too.
It is my absolute favourite book of the year so far.

The book even has a kamikaze pilot love story subplot!

Hukosai’s Shower Below The Summit

Booker Buddies

ImageWelcome to what my bedside table will be looking like for the next month and a bit.  I have given myself the task to read as many of the shortlist as I can between now and October 16 (when the winner is announced).  

I will most likely fail miserably!  

Though to bolster self esteem, I’m thinking to start with some of the smaller books on offer!

I’d love to have some Booker Buddies, other crazies who want to have a crack too.

Then we can truly decide, which is the best novel, in the judges opinion (the surprisingly simple criteria of the competition)

Anyone care to join me?

 

If enough people are interested, I’ll set up one of those linky thingies.
Leave a comment if you dare.

#bookerbuddies

04.02. Pigeon English by Stephen Kelmen

Travelling days are a great opportunity to relax for the day, get a bit of reading done and recover from sensory overload. I picked this book up at Orly airport on the way to Berlin and read it over the course of a couple of flights.
It sounded promising, it was shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2011 and the cover has recommendations from the Guardian and Emma Donoghue. But to be honest, I was a little disappointed by this book- though it was an easy and enjoyable read.
It’s the story of 11 year-old Harrison Opoku, newly arrived in an English public housing estate from Ghana. And it is told in Harrison’s voice. He is an endearing character, an innocent surrounded by evil and danger. The book is funny in parts, as Harrison relates the world just as he sees it. But the pervading feeling of the novel is ominous, opening as it does at the scene of a murder- the murder of a “half friend” of Harri.
Kelman is keen for us to have a sense of how social injustice impacts even the strongest family, as Harri’s sister and mother find themselves increasingly compromised and out of control. The pervading sense of menace throughout the book is very strong and compels you forward through the novel.
Just a bit disappointed, but 3 stars all the same.