The Harmony Silk Factory

by Tash Aw

eBooks of the Month Historical Fiction Modern and Classic Literary Fiction

LoveReading View on The Harmony Silk Factory

Category Winner of the Whitbread First Novel Award 2005 and shortlisted for the Man Booker Prize. The story of a mysterious man, Johnny Lim.  I say mysterious for we get three different narratives relating parts of his life that illustrate very different men, all Johnny, and so it shows us how we bend or interpret the truth.  Here we never really discover what that is but in the tales we get a large amount of history of Malaysia.  A wonderful, fascinating, beautifully written first novel.


Comparison: Rani Manicka, Nadeem Aslam, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie.

Sarah Broadhurst

The Harmony Silk Factory Synopsis

Set in Malaysia in the 1930s and 40s, with the rumbling of the Second World War in the background and the Japanese about to invade, The Harmony Silk Factory is the story of four people: Johnny, an infamous Chinaman – a salesman, a fraudster, possibly a murderer – whose shop house, The Harmony Silk Factory, he uses as a front for his illegal businesses; Snow Soong, the beautiful daughter of one of the Kinta Valley’s most prominent families, who dies giving birth to one of the novel’s narrators; Kunichika, a Japanese officer who loves Snow too; and an Englishman, Peter Wormwood, who went to Malaysia like many English but never came back, who also loved Snow to the end of his life. A journey the four of them take into the jungle has a devastating effect on all of them, and brilliantly exposes the cultural tensions of the era.

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All versions of this book

ISBN: 9780007232284
Publication date: 16/01/2006
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Format: Paperback (b Format)

Book Information

ISBN: 9780007232284
Publication date: 16th January 2006
Author: Tash Aw
Publisher: Harpercollins Publishers
Format: Paperback (b Format)
Pagination: 384 pages
Genres: eBook Favourites, Historical Fiction, Literary Fiction,
Categories: Modern & contemporary fiction (post c 1945),

About Tash Aw

Tash Aw is a recent graduate of UEA. He is Malaysian by birth but now lives in London. The Harmony Silk Factory is his first novel.

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