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The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay
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The Map of Lost Memories (edition 2012)

by Kim Fay

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1743968,238 (3.56)20
Member:DevourerOfBooks
Title:The Map of Lost Memories
Authors:Kim Fay
Info:Hodder & Stoughton Ltd (2012), Paperback
Collections:Uncollected
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The Map of Lost Memories by Kim Fay

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Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Excellent historical mystery!
  twopairsofglasses | Jun 15, 2014 |
Kim Fay, a first time novelist, has written a fun adventure story with a plucky female heroine and Cambodia as the setting. Set in 1925 amidst the international treasure-hunting world, Irene Blum, passed over for a coveted museum curatorship due to her gender, seeks to restore her reputation by setting off in search of a temple believed to house the lost history of Cambodia's ancient Khmer civilization.

There are lots of exotic details here -- criminals in the backstreets, opium addicts, shadowy nightclub owners, lots of humidity-soaked linen and sweat-streaked colonials. There is murder. Spousal abuse. Communists. And the pace, although slow in the start, picks up by the middle of the book.

It's a good first novel, but there are flaws. The author seems to be trying very hard to mix the DaVinci Code with Raiders of the Lost Ark. It all feels a bit forced, as though she had her eye more on a movie deal than literature. The characters don't quite elicit the required sympathy, and some of the psychological responses seem false and the plot twists contrived. Still, some of the writing is quite lyrical. I'd love to see what she might do with a more character driven-less plot driven novel. It's the language which earned the book a third star. ( )
  Laurenbdavis | Apr 15, 2014 |
This is a very well written first novel adventure which will appeal to women. Similar to RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK and the works of Dan Brown. Many unfolding developments, strong plot and a well developed list of characters. There will eventually be a sequel and another novel in between. ( )
  Betty.Ann.Beam | Mar 7, 2014 |
My review of "The Map of Lost Memories" on Hometown Pasadena is here: http://bit.ly/YusLpa

Petrea Burchard
author of Camelot & Vine ( )
  PetreaBurchard | Feb 9, 2014 |
"The Map of Lost Memories" seemed to have the right ingredients - Shanghai, 1925, treasure hunt, Cambodia.....but the book just didn't work for me. Parts of the last third were well done, but even the climax fell short. I read descriptions of this book claiming that it was "character driven". Maybe so, but I didn't care for any of the characters. The protagonist, Irene, doesn't get the key job at her Seattle based museum and she walks out in a huff. Her mentor, Mr Simms, offers to sponsor an expedition to Cambodia to pursue a rumored history of the Khmer people etched on ten copper scrolls. The story starts satisfyingly enough in Shanghai but seems to fall short early on. There is a lot of sermonizing among 4 or 5 principal characters debating their responsibilities with respect to cultural artifacts. On the one hand Irene condemns the colonial powers who have stripped their subject countries of ancient treasures while at the same time she plots to liberate scrolls from Cambodia as a way of restoring her reputation in the museum world. At times, the book reminded me of one of those zealots who attempts to sell a personal philosophy by building a novel around a point of view. Well, too oten "The Map...." was repetitious, boring and preachy, but most of all dull. I am disappointed, bu no surprised, to read that this was an Edgar finalist. ( )
  maneekuhi | Oct 30, 2013 |
Showing 1-5 of 40 (next | show all)
Every word of this evocative literary expedition feels deliberately chosen, each phrase full of meaning. From the murky Shanghai underworld, in which information is traded like currency, to the isolated Cambodian jungle, whose overheated air is thick with mistrust, Fay brilliantly imagines a singular heroine who forges her own path through unfamiliar country.
 
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Epigraph
SHANGHAI

From its inception as a foreign enclave, Shanghai emerged a free city. New arrivals required neither visa nor passport to enter. To the dispossessed, the ambitious and the criminal, it offered a fresh start. Lady Jellico, who was brought up in the city, recalled, “One never asked why someone had come to Shanghai. It was assumed everybody had something to hide.”

Harriet Sergeant
Dedication
For my gramps,
Woodrow "Buck" Ethier
First words
At the far end of the apartment, a row of shutters opened onto a balcony overlooking the swayback roofs of Shanghai. Beyond the low buildings and down a crooked street, the Whangpoo River shushed against the wharves. A heavy, velvet humidity pressed down on this dark belt of water, a perpetual tension that caused a wilted draft, lifting fumes of jasmine and sewage, coal and rotting riverweed, into the thick night air.
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Book description
Suspense and secrets are woven together in this engrossing fiction debut by Kim Fay. The Map of Lost Memories takes readers on a daring expedition to a remote land, where the search for an elusive treasure becomes a journey into the darkest recesses of the mind and heart.

In 1925, the international treasure-hunting scene is a man’s world, and no woman knows this better than Irene Blum, who is passed over for the coveted curator position at Seattle’s renowned Brooke Museum. But she is not ready to accept defeat. Skilled at acquiring priceless, often illicitly trafficked artifacts, Irene is given a rare map believed to lead to a set of copper scrolls that chronicle the lost history of Cambodia’s ancient Khmer civilization. Such a find would not only restore her reputation, it would be the greatest archaeological discovery of the century.

As Irene travels from Seattle to Shanghai to the Cambodian jungles, she will encounter several equally determined companions, including a communist temple robber and a dashing nightclub owner with a complicated past. As she and her fellow adventurers sweep across borders and make startling discoveries, their quest becomes increasingly dangerous. Everyone who comes to this part of the world “has something to hide,” Irene is told—and she learns just how true this is. What she and her accomplices bring to light will do more than change history. It will ultimately solve the mysteries of their own lives.
Haiku summary
Irene inherits
Old map that shows location
Of lost Khmer temple.
(passion4reading)
Irene travels to
Cambodian jungle, finds
Lost temple and love.
(passion4reading)

Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0345531345, Hardcover)

Kim Fay on The Map of Lost Memories

Kim Fay

The Map of Lost Memories holds a special place in my heart. When I was a child, my grandfather lived with my family, and at night he would sit on the side of my bed and tell me stories about his life as a sailor in Asia in the 1930s. Together we would pore over his photos, most of which were of Shanghai and showed an exotic world of rickshaws and sampans against a backdrop of majestic European buildings.

As I grew up, my fascination with Asia simmered within me until I graduated from college and made my first trip. I was smitten by the sodden heat, the smell of incense and jasmine down hidden lanes, and the magical combination of foreignness and familiarity. I continued to return to that part of the world until finally I moved to Vietnam. It was there that I read about Andre and Clara Malraux, a French couple who looted a Cambodian temple in the 1920s to raise money for the Communist party. With that, the first glimmer of my novel appeared.

In the following years, surrounded by the remnants of French colonialism, I could not stop thinking about the Westerners who came to Asia to claim a piece of it for themselves. I began to research every bit of information available on the history of illicit art collecting at the beginning of the twentieth century. I traveled to Shanghai to trace the stories my grandfather once told me. And I went to Angkor Wat. I had read so much about this temple and thought about it for such a long time, and still its grandeur stunned me.

Shaped by all of these experiences and my great passion for Asia, The Map of Lost Memories is both an adventure novel and a time capsule.

 
Gramps' photo of Shanghai

One of my gramps' photos of Shanghai that inspired The Map of Lost Memories

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Khmer temple

An abandoned Khmer temple in the jungles of Cambodia in the 1920s

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Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple

A deserted hallway in Cambodia's Angkor Wat temple in the 1920s

Click here for a larger image

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:33:14 -0400)

(see all 5 descriptions)

It's 1925 and the treasure-hunting scene is a man's world. Irene Blum is passed over for the curator position at a Seattle museum but is not willing to accept defeat. Irene comes into possession of a map believed to lead to a set of copper scrolls the tell the lost history of Cambodia's ancient Khmer civilization. Irene travels from Seattle to Shanghai to the Cambodian jungles in search of the lost scrolls and encounters several other adventurers along the way.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

» see all 4 descriptions

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