HomeGroupsTalkZeitgeist
Hide this

Results from Google Books

Click on a thumbnail to go to Google Books.

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng
Loading...

The Garden of Evening Mists (edition 2012)

by Tan Twan Eng

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
6175215,790 (4.26)1 / 328
Member:Citizenjoyce
Title:The Garden of Evening Mists
Authors:Tan Twan Eng
Info:Weinstein Books (2012), Edition: Original, Paperback, 352 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:****1/2
Tags:Booker Prize, Japan, Malaya, WWII, POW, Aging, Neurology, Aphasia, Tattoos

Work details

The Garden of Evening Mists by Tan Twan Eng

  1. 00
    The Remains of the Day by Kazuo Ishiguro (CGlanovsky)
  2. 00
    Black Oxen by Elizabeth Knox (lottpoet)
  3. 00
    The Inheritance of Loss by Kiran Desai (CGlanovsky)
    CGlanovsky: Non-linear storytelling. Post-colonial novel. Deals with a period of political unrest.
Loading...

Sign up for LibraryThing to find out whether you'll like this book.

English (51)  Dutch (1)  All languages (52)
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
Beautiful story about a woman who was taken prisoner by the Japanese in the second world war and how she eventually comes to terms with what happened to her through a promise she gave to her sister. ( )
  Fluffyblue | Aug 16, 2014 |
The author takes us back to Maylasia, the setting for his previous book, The Gift of Rain, to introduce the recently retired judge Yun Ling Teoh in the 1980's. In her retirement she returns to the Malaysian Cameron Highlands to the estate of a Japanese gardener who provided her with refuge after she escaped from a Japanese POW near the end of WWII.

The narrative is beautifully written with strands of the story braided together over time, each twist and turn revealing a new facet of Yun Ling's experiences and the complexities of war and post-war experiences. ( )
  tangledthread | Aug 1, 2014 |
Stunningly lovely! Set in Malaysia, this is a tale of pain and suffering and healing and love and relationship and trust. It is a tale of the horror of what human beings can do to one another juxtaposed with the compassion which human beings are capable of. All these themes are remembered and re-experienced by the protagonist as she faces the onset of dementia. Lovely prose, memorable characters, and an amazing plot make this a 5 star read! ( )
  hemlokgang | Jul 26, 2014 |
I really enjoyed the book, the language and the descriptive passages within. I felt I was walking in the gardens and could almost imagine the smells of the Highlands and the garden. I even delayed reading the last chapter as I enjoyed it so much - crazy I know but I had a feeling once I finished it the garden was something I was lucky enough to witness before it was demolished. ( )
  jacquid | May 14, 2014 |
As good as Salmon Rushdie's "The Moors Last Sigh" or " Memoirs of a Geisha" (forgot author). Superb in so many ways.
A beautiful use of language. ( )
  DeanClark | May 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 51 (next | show all)
The language is as lush as the landscape he seeks to describe. His prose is punctuated with clever imagery; in reuniting with Teoh, Eng brilliantly describes Frederick's wry reaction "A smile skims across his face, capsizing an instant later."

Though on the whole the descriptive narrative was attractive, at times more concision might have saved it from becoming overwrought, as in my view it was, and rather frustratingly holding back what was otherwise a compelling and unique story.
 
As in his first novel, The Gift of Rain, Tan employs exotic settings and mystical aspects of Japanese culture to drive his narrative. But this time the effect is darker. Aritomo's mastery of the art of shakkei - "Borrowed Scenery" - initially seems enlightened, but as we come to question his true motives for absconding to this obscure backwater, it appears increasingly deceptive.
Though later plot elements surrounding a search for buried wartime treasure do not always complement the atmosphere Tan has carefully constructed, this is a beautiful, dark and wistful exploration of loss and remembrance that, appropriately, will stay with you long after reading.
 
This novel ticks many boxes: its themes are serious, its historic grounding solid, its structure careful, its old-fashioned ornamentalism respectable. The reason I found it impossible to love is the quality of the writing. There is no discernible personality in the dutiful, dull voice of Yun Ling, and non-events stalk us on every page: "for a timeless moment I looked straight into his eyes"; "For a long while he does not say anything. Finally he begins to speak in a slow, steady voice." The self-conscious dialogue resembles a history lesson collated for the benefit of the western reader, and everything is ponderously "like" something else, so it takes twice as long: "We were like two moths around a candle, circling closer and closer to the flames, waiting to see whose wings would catch fire first." Despite the dramatic events, the overall effect is one of surprising blandness, like something you've read before.
 
This is a good old-fashioned story with a plot that arcs gracefully, maintains suspense, and stays true to characterisation. Yun Ling’s independent spirit and her anger seep like ink-stains into the narrative, but its distilled essence is a quieter appraisal of the dichotomy of memory, its treacherous failures, its cruel conveniences, its fadeout and deliverance. Outside Magnus’s house are two statues—one is of Mnemosyne the goddess of memory and the other is of her twin sister, the goddess of forgetting, whose name, of course, has been forgotten.

Here, too, the garden is the conceit. “A garden borrows from the earth, the sky, and everything around it, but you borrow from time,” Yun Ling accuses Aritomo, “Your memories are a form of shakkei too. You bring them in to make your life here feel less empty. Like the mountains and the clouds over your garden, you can see them, but they will always be out of reach.” The garden that Yun Ling intends to make is about more than a desire to preserve the memory of her sister, though, for in many ways, it was the idea of this garden that kept the sisters hopeful through their long internment. The Japanese garden, with its many deceptions and beauties, becomes a well-formed metaphor for the ways in which our lives are lived.
 
Aritomo, the enigmatic former gardener to the Emperor of Japan who glides through Tan Twan Eng’s second novel, tells his female apprentice in the Cameron Highlands of early-1950s Malaya that “Every aspect of gardening is a form of deception”.

Just the same applies, you might argue, to the art of fiction, with its incomplete points-of-view and deceptive trompe d’oeil vistas. Tan’s story here is just as elegantly planted as his Man Booker-long listed debut The Gift of Rain, and even more 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”.
added by kidzdoc | editThe Independent, Boyd Tonkin (Apr 28, 2012)
 
You must log in to edit Common Knowledge data.
For more help see the Common Knowledge help page.
Series (with order)
Canonical title
Original title
Alternative titles
Original publication date
People/Characters
Important places
Important events
Related movies
Awards and honors
Epigraph
There is a goddess of Memory, Mnemosyne; but none of Forgetting. Yet there should be, as they are twin sisters, twin powers, and walk on either side of us, disputing for sovereignty over us and who we are, all the way until death.

Richard Holmes, A Meander Through Memory and Forgetting
Dedication
For my sister

And

Opgedra aan A J Buys — sonder jou sou hierdie boek dubbel so lank en halfpad so goed wees. Mag jou eie mooi taal altyd gedy.
First words
On a mountain above the clouds once lived a man who had been the gardener of the Emperor of Japan.
Quotations
Memory is like patches of sunlight in an overcast valley, shifting with the movement of the clouds. Now and then the light will fall on a particular point in time, illuminating it for a moment before the wind seals up the gap, and the world is in shadows again.
Last words
(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
Disambiguation notice
Publisher's editors
Blurbers
Publisher series
Original language

References to this work on external resources.

Wikipedia in English

None

Book description
Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden 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 the gardener and his art. while all around them a communist guerilla war rages. But the Garden of Evening Mists remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?
Haiku summary

No descriptions found.

"Malaya, 1951. Yun Ling Teoh, the scarred lone survivor of a brutal Japanese wartime camp, seeks solace among the jungle-fringed tea plantations of Cameron Highlands. There she discovers Yugiri, the only Japanese garden in Malaya, and its owner and creator, the enigmatic Aritomo, exiled former gardener of the emperor of Japan. Despite her hatred of the Japanese, Yun Ling seeks to engage Aritomo to create a garden 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 the gardener and his art, while all around them a communist guerilla war rages. But the Garden of Evening Mists remains a place of mystery. Who is Aritomo and how did he come to leave Japan? And is the real story of how Yun Ling managed to survive the war perhaps the darkest secret of all?"--P. [4] of cover.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 6 descriptions

Quick Links

Swap Ebooks Audio
1 avail.
115 wanted
3 pay2 pay

Popular covers

Rating

Average: (4.26)
0.5
1
1.5 1
2 4
2.5 2
3 12
3.5 13
4 62
4.5 34
5 64

Audible.com

An edition of this book was published by Audible.com.

See editions

Recorded Books

An edition of this book was published by Recorded Books.

» Publisher information page

Is this you?

Become a LibraryThing Author.

 

Help/FAQs | About | Privacy/Terms | Blog | Contact | LibraryThing.com | APIs | WikiThing | Common Knowledge | Legacy Libraries | Early Reviewers | 92,251,833 books! | Top bar: Always visible