Winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize 2012.
Shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize 2012.
It's Malaya, 1949. After studying law at Cambrige and time spent helping to prosecute Japanese war criminals, Yun Ling Teoh seeks solace among the jungle fringed plantations of Northern Malaya where she grew up as a child. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo.
Winner of the Man Asian Literary Prize 2012.
Maya Jaggi, Chair of the Man Asian Literary Prize judges, said: "The winner, The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng, revisits the traumatic aftermath of the Japanese occupation of Malaya, and the post-war insurgency against British rule, with stylistic poise and probing intelligence. Taking its aesthetic cues from the artful deceptions of Japanese landscape gardening, it opens up a startling perspective on converging histories, using the feints and twists of fiction to explore its themes of personal and national honour; love and atonement; memory and forgetting; and the disturbing co-existence of cultural refinement and barbarism."
Sir Peter Stothard, Chair of Man Booker Prize 2012 judging panel, on The Garden of Evening Mists...
'The Garden of Evening Mists is the second novel by the Malaysian writer, Tan Twan Eng, and is also from a discerning small publisher. In some of the most poised, precise prose offered to us this year, it is the story a Japanese garden created in honour of a Japanese victim of war - and is sternly paced to match its subject. One of us, I remember, likened its beauty to that of 'slowly clashing icebergs'. We all admired the serenity of the gardener, Aritomo, former servant of the Emperor, and one of the most memorable characters in all the 30,000 pages or so that we have read.'
Comparison: Kyung-Sook Shin, Eowyn Ivey, Eowyn Ivey
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The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo, the exiled former gardener of the Emperor of Japan, to create a garden in Kuala Lumpur, in memory of her sister who died in the camp. Aritomo refuses, but agrees to accept Yun Ling as his apprentice 'until the monsoon comes'. Then she can design a garden for herself. As the months pass, Yun Ling finds herself intimately drawn to her sensei and his art while, outside the garden, the threat of murder and kidnapping from the guerrillas of the jungle hinterland increases with each passing day. But the Garden of Evening Mists is also a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? Why is it that Yun Ling's friend and host Magnus Praetorius, seems to almost immune from the depredations of the Communists? What is the legend of 'Yamashita's Gold' and does it have any basis in fact? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?
About the Author
Tan Twan Eng was born in Penang but lived in various places in Malaysia as a child. He studied law through the University of London and later worked as lawyer in one of Kuala Lumpur's most reputable law firms. He also has a first-dan ranking in aikido and is a strong proponent for the conservation of heritage buildings. His debut novel, The Gift of Rain was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize. Tan Twan Eng lives in Cape Town where he is working on his third novel.
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